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Taylor Swift’s tour in Rio marred by deaths, attacks and heatwave

RIO DE JANEIRO — The deaths of two people, assaults and a dangerous heat wave left legions of Taylor Swift’s Brazilian fans angry and disappointed during the three-day Rio de Janeiro leg of the Eras tour. pop superstar, which ended Monday night.

Gabriel Mongenot Santana Milhomem Santos, 25, a fan who came from the central west of the country to see Swift, was stabbed to death on a Copacabana beach around 3 a.m. Monday, Rio police said in a statement.

It was the second death of a Swift fan in four days. On Friday, Ana Clara Benevides Machado, 23, fell ill during the singer’s first concert in the city and died later that evening in hospital.

Fans have also reported fainting from extreme heat, being assaulted, or being caught in a police raid.

Rio’s municipal health department said Benevides, who a friend said fainted during Swift’s second song, “Cruel Summer,” suffered cardiopulmonary arrest, but the exact cause of her death was unclear. is not yet known. Rio’s Forensic Institute examined the body on Saturday and said additional laboratory tests needed to be carried out, online news site G1 reported.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Swift said Benevides’ death left her “heartbroken.”

Before Friday’s show, fans queued for hours outside the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium where temperatures soared to 41 degrees Celsius (105 Fahrenheit), with a heat index of nearly 59 C (138 F ). Inside the stadium, spectators complained of unbearable heat and some said they had difficulty accessing water.

Taylor Swift fans wait for the doors to open at the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium for her Eras Tour concert, amid a heatwave in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday.Silvia Izquierdo / AP

“I didn’t imagine that my dream could turn into a nightmare,” said fan Kléssia Menezes, who told R7 TV that she got stuck with hundreds of other people on one of the ramps leading to a VIP area on Saturday as security guards blocked the entrance. entrance.

Once security let them through, she said, people started running and she fell on a hot metal floor that burned her leg and back.

“They took me to the doctor…and I saw that I wasn’t the only person who had fallen into this chaos,” she said. “A lot of people fell and got burned.”

Ultimately, that night’s show was postponed, after tens of thousands of fans spent hours queuing in the heat. Swift announced on Instagram that this was necessary “due to the extreme temperatures in Rio.”

A fan who identified herself as Julia Alvarenga said she was upset that Swift hadn’t decided to cancel sooner.

“My friend, can you see how much I sweat, how all the pores on my body are enlarged from sweat? asked a visibly angry Alvarenga in a video posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. She then showed off her size, highlighting the extreme measures she took to attend a concert she knew she would queue for hours for. “I’m wearing a diaper, a geriatric diaper,” she says, prompting the artist to appear. “Come on stage, I want to see you!” »

The postponement was followed by chaos outside the stadium. In light rain, a crowd of spectators left the neighborhood, close to one of Rio’s working-class neighborhoods known as favelas.

Videos shared on social media showed groups of pickpockets stealing fans’ belongings, not so unusual scenes for Rio residents, but far from the postcards many tourists have seen of the “cidade maravilhosa.”

Many took refuge inside a Burger King, hiding under tables and behind the kitchen counter. Heavily armed police raided the basement of the fast food restaurant as loud sirens blared and those trapped outside the restaurant screamed. Some of those who managed to escape in taxis were overcharged by the drivers.

Saturday’s show was postponed until Monday evening, but many of those who had come from other parts of Brazil and outside the country had already planned to leave early.

“We won’t make it,” said Hely Olivares, a 41-year-old Venezuelan from Panama. “A lot of people ruined their trip.”

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