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On Friday night, Taylor Swift shared the heartbreaking news that a fan had died while attending her Eras Tour concert in Rio de Janeiro.
In a statement that was posted to her Instagram story after the show, Taylor wrote, “I can't believe I'm writing these words but it is with a shattered heart that I say we lost a fan earlier tonight before my show. I can't even tell you how devastated I am by this. There's very little information I have other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young.”
She added, “I’m not going to be able to speak about this from stage because I feel overwhelmed by grief when I even try to talk about it. I want to say now that I feel this loss deeply and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends. This is the last thing I ever thought would happen when we decided to bring this tour to Brazil."
The fan was identified as 23-year-old Ana Clara Benevides Machado, and the friend who had attended the concert with Ana later clarified that she’d fallen ill during Taylor’s second song on the setlist — not before the show, as initially reported.
Nossos sentimentos aos familiares e amigos de Ana Clara Benevides, fã da Taylor Swift que sofreu uma parada cardiorespitatória devido ao extremo calor no estádio Nilton Santos na noite de ontem. JUSTIÇA POR ANARETIREM OS TAPUMES T4F EXIGIMOS RESPEITOEXIGIMOS ÁGUA EM EVENTOS pic.twitter.com/BotBzbwIua
— Claudia Informa (@ClaudiaInforma) November 18, 2023
@ClaudiaInforma / Via X.com
Daniele Menin told Brazilian news outlet G1 that Ana was treated by paramedics on-site after she passed out during Taylor’s performance of “Cruel Summer.” She was then taken to a local hospital, where she died.
Impedir pessoas de entrarem com um água no show da Taylor Swift, onde a sensação térmica era de 60°, é desumano. Ana Clara Benevides, de 23 anos, veio a óbito após passar mal no show. Toda solidariedade aos familiares e aos amigos 🤍 pic.twitter.com/RRRi94xijn
— apenas Rods. (@oisourodz) November 18, 2023
@oisourodz / Via X.com
Ana’s cause of death is currently unconfirmed, but it is believed to be linked to the dangerous heat wave that parts of Brazil have been experiencing this month. Brazilian media outlets have reported that fans waited for hours in the sun ahead of the concert, and venue rules prevented them from bringing in their own water bottles.
In video footage from Friday’s show, Taylor can be seen repeatedly requesting that her fans be given water — and at one point even took it upon herself to throw a bottle into the crowd.
@taylorswwww / Via tiktok.com
Taylor ended up canceling her concert Saturday, writing in an Instagram statement that it will be rescheduled for a later date due to the “extreme temperatures in Rio.”
“I’m writing this from my dressing room in the stadium,” she told followers shortly before she was due to go onstage. “The decision has been made to postpone tonight’s show due to the extreme temperatures in Rio. The safety and well-being of my fans, fellow performers, and crew has to and always will come first.”
And when Taylor returned to the stage Sunday night, she appeared to pay moving tribute to Ana through one of her surprise songs.
At each of the shows on her Eras Tour, Taylor plays two additional songs that aren’t on the official setlist as a surprise for fans.
Her choice to perform her emotional 2022 song “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” on the piano at her first concert since Ana’s death is not thought to have been a coincidence.
“No words appear before me in the aftermath,” the song begins. “Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears.”
The moving chorus then repeats: “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than the whole sky / You were more than just a short time.”
“And I've got a lot to pine about / I’ve got a lot to live without,” it continues. “I’m never gonna meet / What could've been, would've been / What should've been you.”
In videos from the performance that are circulating online, Taylor appears to be fighting back tears as her voice cracks on more than one occasion.
Fans also noticed a particularly upsetting lyric change in the song’s second verse. Instead of singing, “Every single thing to come has turned into ashes,” Taylor sang, “Every single thing I touch has turned into ashes.”
It is possible that this was an accident, as the first verse of the song includes the lyric, “Every single thing I touch becomes sick with sadness,” which makes it plausible that the star may have just confused the lines.
— mari nation (@missamaricana) November 20, 2023
@missamaricana / Via X.com
However, fans have been left concerned that this change is an insight into how Taylor is coping with the tragic news. One person tweeted, “idk if that change on bttws was intentional on taylor’s part tonight, but wow did that cut deep. I know she’s feeling a tremendous weight right now.”
“every single thing I touch has turned to ashes” idk if that change on bttws was intentional on taylor’s part tonight, but wow did that cut deep. I know she’s feeling a tremendous weight right now 😭😭
— Alena ⸆⸉ 🖤🐍 (@alenasfolksongs) November 20, 2023
@alenasfolksongs / Via X.com
Another wrote, “i'm not crying you are, taylor i promise it's not your fault.”
original lyrics: Every single thing to come has turned into ashes taylor tonight: every single thing i touch has turned into ashes i'm not crying you are 😭 taylor i promise it's not your fault 🥺 pic.twitter.com/rrSWJArdO6
— hawa 🎀 (@diorbabe66) November 20, 2023
@diorbabe66 / @belixa13 / Via X.com
Others praised the star for the touching tribute, with one tweet reading, “taylor singing BTTWS was such a beautiful tribute to the fans we lost recently. taylor may not have been able to speak about it but she sang a beautiful song.”
taylor singing BTTWS was such a beautiful tribute to the fans we lost recently. taylor may not have been able to speak about it but she sang a beautiful song. 🏻
— michaela⸆⸉ | slut! (@_altarismyhips_) November 20, 2023
@_altarismyhips_ / Via X.com
Somebody else said, “i actually can't stop crying. i thought bigger than the whole sky but I didn't think taylor could get through it. shes insanely strong what a beautiful tribute.”
i actually can't stop crying. i thought bigger than the whole sky but I didn't think taylor could get through it. shes insanely strong what a beautiful tribute
— Heather (@foolishheather) November 20, 2023
@foolishheather / Via X.com
Another added, “literally cannot fathom how strong of a person taylor is to get on that stage and sing bigger than the whole sky and not burst into tears...such a beautiful tribute.”
literally cannot fathom how strong of a person taylor is to get on that stage and sing bigger than the whole sky and not burst into tears...such a beautiful tribute :(
— lesbians for cain (@lavendermuna) November 20, 2023
@lavendermuna / Via X.com
Ana is from the small district of Sonora in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil. She flew to Rio especially for Taylor’s concert, and it marked her first time ever on a plane.
— Brenno De Moura (@mbrenno_) November 20, 2023
@mbrenno_ / Via X.com
During a TV interview Sunday, Ana’s heartbroken mom, Adriana Benevides, said that they were struggling to bring their daughter’s body home. Adriana broke down in tears as she said that they weren’t getting “any support” with the logistics, but G1 has since reported that Ana will be laid to rest in her hometown today.
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