Taylor Swift took the stage for the first time following the tragic death of one of her fans. The 33-year-old pop star performed an emotional rendition of her track “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” on November 19. Though she did not mention the concertgoer Ana Clara Benevides or her death, many Swifties believe that Swift’s performance was a silent tribute to the late college student.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than the whole sky,” she sang while playing the piano. “I’ve got a lot to live without / I’m never gonna meet / What could’ve been, would’ve been / What should’ve been you.” As Swift performed, rain poured down onto the stage as part of her Eras Tour.
One day prior, Swift released a statement announcing that one of her fans had died while attending her concert.
— Taylor Swift Updates (@swifferupdates) November 20, 2023
“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,” she wrote via her Instagram Stories on November 18. “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 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.”
Benevides collapsed right before Swift’s concert was set to begin on November 17. According to multiple outlets, the college student was “resuscitated at the stadium for about 40 minutes” after she “fainted.” She was reportedly suffering from cardiac arrest. While en route to the emergency room, Benevides suffered from cardiac arrest a second time and was pronounced dead before she could be revived. She was 23 years old and was studying psychology, her father told local newspaper Fohla de S. Paulo.
“I lost my only daughter, a happy and intelligent girl. She was about to graduate in psychology next April, saving money,” he reportedly said. “I have no words to express my pain. She left home to fulfill a dream and came back dead.”
Benevides’ tragic death occurred amid the rising temperatures in Rio de Janeiro, where countless fans lined up to attend Swift’s concert at the Estádio Olympico Nilton Santos. In the hours leading up to her death, Benevides documented her Eras Tour attendance via social media. In one of her Instagram videos, per Page Six, she indicated that the temperature outside the stadium was 35 degrees Celsius, which is about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside the venue was even hotter, with temperatures reaching dangerous numbers above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many attendees complained on social media that they were not permitted to bring water bottles into the stadium to hydrate. Several social media clips captured by fans showed Swift throwing water bottles into the crowd as a way to help. Mayor Eduardo Paes announced that extra staff members and ambulances would be available for the last few shows.