Man Who Died At MORBID ANGEL Concert In Illinois Identified; Fundraising Campaign Launched

April 2, 2023

MORBID ANGEL has paid tribute to Frederick Forest Livingston, Jr., the 50-year-old man who was killed when the roof of the venue the band played in Belvidere, Illinois collapsed.

Although the concert was reportedly sold out, the Belvidere Police Department said only 260 people were at the Apollo Theater on March 31 when the collapse occurred as a heavy storm rolled through the area. The capacity of the theater is around 1,500.

Officials were notified by the National Weather Service of a tornado warning at 7:45 p.m. CT. The roof collapsed ten minutes later, according to Belvidere Fire Department chief Shawn Schadle.

Late Saturday night (April 1),MORBID ANGEL released the following statement via social media: "We want to personally send our heartfelt condolences to the the family and friends of our deceased brother in Metal, Fred Livingston Jr." A fan also shared a link to a GoFundMe fundraising campaign which has been launched to help Livingston's family.

Livingston's sister Deanna Hicks told ABC7 Chicago he was attending the concert at the theatre with his son Alex, who Hicks said is "OK."

"On behalf of the family of Frederick Forest Livingston, Jr.Fred was a son, brother, father, uncle and grandpa. Fred was a car (proud owner of a 1967 GTO) and Heavy Metal enthusiast. Fred had a big heart and cared for others deeply. Please keep all of Fred's family and friends in your thoughts. Please respect our privacy," Hicks said in a statement to ABC News.

Livingston's niece Brittany Mills, who launched the aforementioned fundraising campaign, wrote in an introductory message on the GoFundMe page: "It is with great sorrow that we have to share the unexpected passing of Fred Livingston Jr. On March 31st, a tragic event at the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois led to the loss of a great man. Fred was an amazing man that leaves behind his three sons, Alex, Fred III, and Shane, along with the rest of his family that cared about him deeply.

"Our family still cannot comprehend this unexpected tragedy and we are asking for donations to help with the costs that come along with losing a family member. On behalf of our family, we greatly appreciate any support that can be offered to help get us through this tough time.

"We hope to update you soon on more details for services to honor the life of a son, brother, father and grandpa who will be truly missed."

Officials were notified by the National Weather Service of a tornado warning at 7:45 p.m. CT. The roof collapsed ten minutes later, according to Belvidere Fire Department chief Shawn Schadle.

Belvidere police chief Shane Woody described the scene when police arrived as "chaos. Absolute chaos. When officers are first on the scene, when the fire department and first responders get here, they do the best they can to control the chaos as much as possible," he said. "But ultimately, we go in, and ultimately try and find people, and save as many people as we possibly can — and bring them to safety as best as we can."

One person who was inside the theater when the collapse happened told Rockford Scanner: "It was in between sets. The first band had just played. People were going outside to smoke. And then all the people came running back in, 'cause the rain started coming down real heavy. Then all of a sudden the door that they came out of was swinging back and forth, slamming super hard. All the power went out in the building and the entire ceiling collapsed on everybody in the front area — right at the stage, on the stage, the people behind the stage; that sector of the building. When it came down, it blew me out towards the exit door. I crawled out a hole through the door and I escaped without a scratch; I don't know how I did. But there's definitely casualties and 50, about a hundred wounded — severely. It's horrible."

"Initially, I was confused because it felt like an earthquake, and I was thinking, 'Why would there be an earthquake right now?'" an audience member at the concert who narrowly escaped injury told The New York Times. "As soon as that happened. I watched as the entire roof collapsed on everybody, basically right where we were standing."

Officials said more than 40 people were treated at hospitals, including two people who suffered life-threatening injuries.

The concert was part of MORBID ANGEL's 2023 U.S. tour, featuring support acts CRYPTA, SKELETAL REMAINS and REVOCATION.

According to the venue's official Facebook page, doors were scheduled to open at 6:00 p.m., with CRYPTA set to perform at 7 p.m., SKELETAL REMAINS at 7:45 p.m., REVOCATION at 8:40 p.m. and MORBID ANGEL at 9:40 p.m.

The collapse was reported as severe storms with 90 mph winds blew through the area.

According to local reports, at least 20 ambulances were dispatched to the theater, which is located roughly 14 miles outside of the city of Rockford.

Photos and video taken at the venue show that the theater's marquee and façade had crashed on to the street, with debris littering the area as first responders worked to help the injured.

Belvidere is located in Boone County, about 72 miles from Chicago.

The Apollo Theatre opened in 1921 as a stage play, movie, and vaudeville venue.

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