An acrobat who plunged 30 metres to his death in front of a 35,000-strong crowd at a Spanish music festival was killed on the night that his partner had come to watched him perform live for the first time.
Fans watched on in horror as Pedro Aunion Monroy, 42, fell to his death from a cube which had been hoisted above the stage as part of a tribute to pop star Prince at the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid on Friday (Saturday NZ Time).
Just prior to his death, Monroy had posted a drawing of himself and his partner, Michael Sells, on Facebook, with the message: “I can’t wait to see my beautiful boyfriend. Love, come to my arms!!!!!”
Monroy, who lived and worked in Brighton, in the UK, fell from the box shortly before midnight (local time) on Friday night as fans waited for Green Day to come on stage to headline the festival.
The US rockers were initially criticised for performing some 30 minutes after paramedics had removed Monroy, but later issued a statement saying they were unaware he had died until they came offstage.
We just got off stage at Mad Cool Festival to disturbing news. A very brave artist named Pedro lost his life tonight in a tragic accident
— Green Day (@GreenDay) July 8, 2017
His partner, Sells, also from Brighton, was in the audience watching him for the first time, according to friends who spoke to The Sunday Telegraph.
One friend, Darren Howe, said: “Pedro was the nicest, most positive person you could wish to meet. This was the first time Mike had seen him perform.
“A lot of his friends are now travelling to Madrid to support Mike, who was watching from the crowd and saw it all.
“How do you ever come to terms with something like that?”
Friends told The Sunday Telegraph that Monroy was adored by everyone.
Gary Taylor, 49, said: “We don’t know yet what happened but it must have been just awful for Mike. Pedro normally acted as a choreographer for the shows so we have no idea how this came about.
“He was the finest man you could ever wish to meet, a hugely generous soul and someone who just made friends everywhere he went. He was a huge ball of energy and everyone adored him.
“He had been together with his partner Michael for the last 18 months after they met in Brighton. They were in love and Pedro was the happiest we had ever seen him.
“For Mike to see this happen is just dreadful. No one can imagine how he is feeling. I am flying straight out to Madrid to try to help in whatever way I can.”
Monroy had lived in Brighton for the past three years and decided to diversify from his performing arts company by also opening the Aunion Therapy Studio in the southern UK city six months ago.
He was specialising in massage treatments, Pilates, yoga and acupuncture, and also offered spa treatments to guests at the Grand Hotel.
Taylor, a Brighton-based psychologist, added: “I helped arrange the setting up of his new business and it was going extremely well. He was very positive about the future.
“This is so tragic. We have heard his performance in Madrid was rained off at first but the details we have are very sketchy.”
Estefi Chaje, Monroy’s sister, said he died doing what he loved best.
“He was doing what he liked most, a show on Mad Cool. We’re devastated,” she wrote as she announced his death to friends and family on Facebook.
The accident happened as the performer was descending in an illuminated box for a stunt during a break between British Band Alt-J and the US rockers.
Monroy, who was a director of a performing arts company based in Portslade, Brighton, had been performing inside a box hanging from a crane in which he appeared to be wearing a harness.
After the fall, paramedics could be seen helping Monroy as he lay on the floor, but it was later confirmed he died as a result of his injuries.
Green Day later tweeted: “We just got offstage at Mad Cool Festival to disturbing news. A very brave artist named Pedro lost his life tonight in a tragic accident.”
In a statement, the Mad Cool Festival organisers said they were sorry for the accident but had decided to continue with the final act of the night “for security reasons”.
Many music fans expressed disgust with Mad Cool for not suspending the Green Day concert. Albert Bonilla, a journalist who was at the festival, criticised the lack of sensitivity of organisers as he left the site.
“A rabbit has come on to the stage to announce Green Day. Out comes the group and it’s as if nothing had happened.”
British actor Adrian Randle wrote: “I couldn’t in good faith stay to watch Green Day perform after that. Thoughts go out to the family of the performer.”
Friends took to social media to pay tribute to him.
Charlie Raffell, from Lewes, wrote: “I can’t believe such devastating news fly high Angel xxxxxx”
Daniel Da Rocha, of Brighton, added: “I cannot believe what happened yesterday. Reading the news is heartbreaking.
“I am really sorry for Pedro’s family who lost such a beautiful soul.
“He came a few times to rugby practice last year and he was such a lovely guy.
“He had so much ambitions and he was a great performer too. My love goes to the family. Rest in peace lovely Pedro.”
Manuela Carmen, the Mayoress of Madrid, tweeted after learning of Pedro’s death: “Pained to learn of the death of this acrobat while he was doing his job at Mad Cool.”
Pierre-Yves Monnerville paid tribute to him on Facebook: “What a tragedy. At least I had the pleasure to get to know you. Rest in peace beautiful xxx”
Lauren Tilbury said she was “lost for words. I hope you dance forever and give a mean massage with the other angels up there. God bless you. I’ll never forget you,” she added. VIA