FLORIDA, (AP): A gunman opened fire at a Florida concert venue as singer Christina Grimmie signed autographs for fans after a show, killing the onetime star of The Voice before shooting and killing himself, officials have said.
A publicist for Grimmie, Heather Walsh, said in an email early on Saturday that “we can confirm that Christina has passed and went home to be with the Lord”. The Orlando police department also confirmed on its official Twitter page that Grimmie had died.
Police said that the 22-year-old singer had performed with the band Before You Exit at The Plaza Live in Orlando. The concert ended about 10pm, and Grimmie was shot as she signed autographs for fans at a merchandise table.
Grimmie’s brother immediately tackled the gunman, who then shot and killed himself during the struggle, police said.
The gunman was not identified, and police have not said why he attacked the singer. An investigation is continuing, but police credited the singer’s brother with preventing the gunman from hurting others.
Grimmie, who was born in New Jersey, finished third during season six of the US series of The Voice, competing on the team of Maroon 5 star Adam Levine.
She began amassing a following on YouTube as a teenager, gripping online viewers with her powerful renditions of hit songs. Several of her videos on YouTube have garnered millions of views.
When reports of Grimmie’s death first surfaced, #PrayforChristina was the top trending hashtag on Twitter. After her death was confirmed, #RIPChristina became the top trending hashtag as Grimmie’s fans took to social media to express an outpouring of grief.
The Voice paid tribute to Grimmie on its official Twitter page: “There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice.”
Grimmie had posted a video of herself shortly before the concert was scheduled to begin, encouraging fans to come see her perform.
Levine posted a photo of himself with Grimmie on Instagram, commenting before her death was confirmed: “I’m sad, shocked and confused. We love you so much Grimmie. We are all praying hard that you can pull through this … this just isn’t fair.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 2014 that Grimmie moved to Los Angeles in 2012 after joining Selena Gomez on tour to focus on her singing career.
“I’m done being surprised by cool things she does. She’s very talented and she’s worked incredibly hard; it’s a dangerous combination,” her brother, Mark Grimmie, told the newspaper at the time.
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