Taylor Swift Was Visibly Emotional As She Poignantly Honored The Fan Who Died At Her Show With Sunday’s Surprise Song

Ana Clara Benevides Machado's devastated mom broke down in tears Sunday as she said that the family were struggling to bring their 23-year-old daughter’s body home after she died while attending Taylor’s Eras Tour on Friday.

On Friday night, Taylor Swift shared the heartbreaking news that a fan had died while attending her Eras Tour concert in Rio de Janeiro.

Close-up of Taylor performing onstage sitting on her knees

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.”

Screenshot of the IG story comment

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."

Close-up of Taylor performing onstage

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.

@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.

@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.

People standing in line, some with sun umbrellas

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.

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.”

Fans standing in line, some holding fabrics or umbrellas over their heads

“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.”

Screenshot of the IG story comment

And when Taylor returned to the stage Sunday night, she appeared to pay moving tribute to Ana through one of her surprise songs.

Close-up of Taylor performing onstage

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.

Close-up of Taylor performing onstage with a guitar

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.

Close-up of Taylor performing onstage at a piano

“No words appear before me in the aftermath,” the song begins. “Salt streams out my eyes and into my ears.”

Screenshot of the lyrics

The moving chorus then repeats: “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye / You were bigger than the whole sky / You were more than just a short time.”

Screenshot of the lyrics

“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.”

Close-up of Taylor performing onstage at a piano

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.

Close-up of Taylor performing onstage at a piano

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.”

Screenshot of the original lyrics, which also include "Did some bird flap its wings over in Asia? / Did some force take you because I didn't pray?"

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.

@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.”

@alenasfolksongs / Via X.com

Another wrote, “i'm not crying you are, taylor i promise it's not your fault.”

@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.”

@_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.”

@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.”

@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.

@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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