Handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter account of Darren Fewins of Chris Rea performing at the New Theatre Oxford moments before he collapsed on stage. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday December 9, 2017. See PA story SHOWBIZ REA.
DRIVING Home For Christmas star Chris Rea had to cancel last night’s gig at the Brighton Centre after collapsing in front of fans less than 24 hours earlier.
The 66-year-old was said to be in a stable condition in hospital after “falling into a clump” at the New Theatre in Oxford at 9.30pm on Saturday.
Initially hopes were raised that the performer might soldier on regardless, with the Brighton Centre tweeting at 10.30am yesterday: “For the moment the show is going ahead as planned.”
But by lunchtime the dream was over, with the venue confirming Mr Rea’s management had said he was too unwell to play. Fans can received refunds from their point of purchase.
An outpouring of goodwill followed the announcement, with one Twitter user posting: “Please get well soon. Disappointed not to see you tonight but long term health far more important.”
Darren Fewins, who was at Saturday’s gig in Oxford, said the musician had been on stage for 45 minutes before he fell backwards.
“He was standing by the microphone and he had the guitar in his hand and he kept shaking his left hand as if there was something not quite right with it,” the 46-year-old said.
“He walked forward to the microphone and he was trying to grab the microphone with his left hand, and it was swinging from side-to-side.
“I thought at first there was something wrong with it and he was trying to keep it steady.
“Then he just collapsed on the stage backwards. There was no-one there to catch him, he just fell into a clump.
“He was on his back for about two minutes before they brought the curtain down and then that was it.”
Mr Rea is currently on his The Road Songs For Lovers tour. Last night’s Brighton Centre gig was due to start at 6.30pm.
It is not currently known whether a performance scheduled for Bournemouth on Tuesday will go ahead.
The Middlesbrough-born musician was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had his pancreas removed in 2001.
A spokeswoman for South Central Ambulance Service said on Saturday: “We were called at 9.30pm to attend to an incident in George Street in Oxford.
“We had an ambulance crew on scene and one patient has now been taken to hospital.”
She said the patient was in stable condition.
Source: The Argus