The father Ana Clara Benevides Machado, the 23-year-old Taylor Swift fan who died shortly before attending the singer’s Eras Tour in Brazil, has revealed his devastation over her death — and is demanding answers from concert organisers.
“I lost my only daughter, a happy intelligent girl,” Weiny Machado, 53, told local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, in an interview that has been translated from Portuguese to English.
“She was about to graduate in psychology next April, saving money. I have no words to express my pain. She left home to fulfil a dream and came back dead.”
Machado says he’s seeking answers over reports fans were prohibited from bringing water into Estadio Nilton Santos stadium in Rio de Janeiro, even as temperatures soared to 37 degrees in record breaking temperatures. Due to humidity, temperatures inside the stadium are reported to have reached 59 degrees.
“I want it to be determined whether they were in fact prohibited from bringing water, whether there was negligence in providing assistance,” Machado continued. “I know that the singer was handing out water to her fans, and that is absurd for an event of this size. Nothing will bring my daughter back, but I hope that, if negligence is confirmed, someone will be punished, so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
How did Ana Clara Benevides Machado die?
Ana Clara attended Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour on November 17, along with tens of thousands of others. According to local reports, she arrived with a friend around 11am, drinking water they brought themselves. The friend, Daniele Menin, told local outlet G1 that once inside, they received room temperature water distributed by the organisation. However, water was reportedly scarce inside the stadium, with fans chanting “water, water”, and Taylor interrupted the show to ask for water to be distributed.
According to the paper, Ana Clara passed out during the second song of the show.
In a statement from concert organiser Time for Fun, Ana Clara was “promptly” attended to by first responders, who took her to the stadium’s first aid area. “Faced with the situation, the medical team chose to transfer her to Hospital Salgado Fiklho, where, after almost an hour of emergency care, she unfortunately died,” the statement continued.
“To the family and friends of Ana Clara Benevides Machado, our sincere condolences.”
Time for Fun have not commented on the reported restriction of water bottles into the venue. However, following Ana Clara’s death, it said “the ban on bottled water entering stadiums is a requirement made by public bodies”.
According to the Municipal Health Department, she suffered a cardiac arrest, although an autopsy is yet to confirm a cause of death.
Taylor Swift’s response
Taylor Swift shared her devastation at Ana Clara’s death in a statement posted to Instagram.
“I can’t believe I’m writing these words, but it’s with a shattered heart that I say we lost a fan earlier tonight before my show,” Taylor Swift said on Friday. “I can’t even tell you how devastated I am by this. There’s very little information I have other than the fact she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young.”
She warned fans she was “not going to be able to speak about this on stage because I feel overwhelmed by grief”, but did change a lyric in her performance of ‘Cruel Summer’ in a move Swifties believe was in tribute to Ana Clara.
Brazil moves to make drinking water a legal requirement at concerts
Following Ana Clara’s death, Brazilian lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would make it a legal requirement for water to be distributed at both private and public shows, in addition to more suitable structures to be created at festivals and events with large attendee numbers.
This would include water being passed out in queues of people waiting to enter a venue, as well as distributing drinking fountains around venues.
“Water is a main resource for human survival, and it is essential when taking into account the current climate crisis we are experiencing, which has led to an increase in temperature across the country,” the bill reads.
Time for Fun also announced that patrons will be allowed to bring sealed bottles of water into the venue, and free water will be provided throughout the stadium and in queues outside.