Florida metal band Morbid Angel have shared an official statement responding to the tragedy that occurred at their show in Belvidere, Illinois this week, when a storm caused the roof at the Apollo Theatre to collapse, killing one concertgoer and injuring 40 others.
As reported by The Washington Post, the incident occurred just after 7:45pm on Friday (March 31) – roughly 45 minutes after the concert started – with some 260 people inside when the venue’s roof caved in; Brazilian death metal outfit Crypta had just finished their performance. The venue itself holds a total of 1,500 concertgoers, with the show on Friday being sold out.
The man killed in the incident has been identified as Fred Livingston Jr, and was described by Dan Zaccard – Boone County’s emergency management director – as a 50-year-old man. In a news conference given yesterday (April 1), Zaccard said: “He was under the debris. He was already gone.”
Belvidere fire chief Shawn Schadle noted that around 40 other attendees were treated for injuries, with two having suffered life-threatening injuries. A search-and-rescue effort was launched promptly by the city’s fire department, with Alicia Tate-Nadeau (director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency) saying that “if it wasn’t for their quick actions, and the fact that they were planning for this storm and were prepared, things could’ve looked a lot different”.
In a new statement shared on social media, Morbid Angel shared their “deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the individual who tragically lost their life” on Friday night. They wrote that the Apollo’s roof collapsed “due to heavy winds from a tornado” – while tornado warning sirens were indeed set off prior to the incident, it’s unconfirmed if an actual tornado hit the venue itself.
“We lost a brother in Metal last night,” the band’s statement continued, “and many were hurt and injured in this tragedy. We would like to express how truly thankful we are for those in attendance (fans, venue staff, bands and crew) that assisted with getting people out and to safety. We want to thank the first responders (fire, EMT, police) that were on the scene quickly and were able to help in getting people out of the venue and to hospitals for treatment as quickly as possible. YOU ARE TRUE HEROES!
“At this time our minds continue to remain with all those who were injured and hospitalized, as well as everyone who was effected by the storms in the surrounding area. We truly hope for a fast recovery of all who were injured. As a result of the events of last night, we are working to re-scheduling tonight’s show in Joliet, [Illinois] to Wednesday April 5. With that said, our focus remains with the victims of this terrible storm.”
On behalf of Morbid Angel, we want to first and foremost send our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family and…
Shortly after the post was made, Livingston’s niece Brittany shared a note of condolences for her deceased uncle, which the band reposted. “Our family is beyond devastated,” she wrote alongside a link to a GoFundMe campaign. “We can’t help comprehend how this could happen to us. Please share and donate if you can.”