Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour has captivated audiences across the world, spanning five continents, breaking records, and further cementing her place in history.
But the megastar’s current stint in Brazil appears to be in jeopardy as Swift announced the postponement of her Nov. 18 concert following the death of one 23-year-old fan, Ana Clara Benevides Machado, before the concert on Nov. 17. Around 1,000 fans fainted at the show due to the heat at Nilton Santos stadium, reported local outlet Folha de S.Paulo.
“The decision has been made to postpone tonight’s show due to the extreme temperatures in Rio,” Swift wrote from her dressing room, posted as a story on Instagram. “The safety and wellbeing of my fans, fellow performers, and crew has to and always will come first.”
Machado’s cause of death has not been confirmed, but many are pointing to the city’s scorching conditions, alongside the venue’s rule against bringing water inside.
On the day of Machado’s death, Rio de Janeiro saw a record heat index — which combines temperature and humidity measurements — of nearly 139 degrees Fahrenheit. Environmental author Assaad Razzouk categorized Rio’s conditions that night as “unlivable.”
Rio de Janeiro yesterday recorded a heat index of 59.7ºC (139.4ºF), a record. Previous record? 59.3ºC, the day before— Assaad Razzouk (@AssaadRazzouk) November 19, 2023
52C/125F+ signifies extreme danger with heat strokes "highly likely". In other words, unlivable
Oh, Taylor Swift postponed her concert https://t.co/iOtggpdJLJ pic.twitter.com/oIpmQRWbXX
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes heat indexes above 125 degrees Fahrenheit as extremely dangerous, with “heat stroke highly likely.”
Colin Raymond, a NASA climate researcher, explained that at such elevated humidity and heat levels, “it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. You can’t survive for extended periods of time.”
While it’s still unclear whether or not Machado died because of heat stroke, it’s abundantly clear that heat waves and extreme temperatures are becoming more frequent and severe amid what scientists have tracked as a consistent rise in global temperatures.
Preparing to keep cool during heat waves is critical, especially considering that heat waves are actually the deadliest type of weather disaster in the U.S.
On top of this, dunking your feet in cold water can help you cool down quickly, as your feet contain a high concentration of blood vessels that allow heat to be rapidly released from your body.
With those factors in mind, it makes it all the more troubling that the Associated Press reported water and other drink bottles were not permitted into the arena and that water availability was scarce inside. Swift was reportedly seen directing help at times for others who seemed to be struggling with overheating and thirst. Venue staff reportedly began to pass out water to fans but eventually ran out.
Taylor Swift posts to Instagram story regarding reports that a fan died at the show tonight of an apparent heat related medical episode. pic.twitter.com/0yoAF0zjFS— Doha Madani (@DohaMadani) November 18, 2023
The AP also reported that Brazilian Justice Minister Flávio Dino said the country will make sure “water bottles for personal use, in suitable material, will be allowed” at future events like this and that drinking water must be made free and easy to access within the building or grounds. That change in policy could prevent a future tragedy like Machado’s death, which Swift said has left her “overwhelmed by grief.”
“I want to say now I feel this loss deeply and my broken heart goes out to her family and friends,” Swift said.
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