Eight people died in a crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, on Friday, November 5, 2021. The victims range in age from 14 to 27. Five of the victims were from Texas, while two traveled to Houston from Illinois and another from Washington.
At least 25 people were hospitalized during the disaster at the concert festival and others were treated at the scene, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference. About 50,000 people attended the concert at NRG Stadium.
The victims have been identified by family members as John Hilgert, 14; Brianna Rodriguez, 16; Franco Patino, 21; Jake Jurinek, 20; Axel Acosta, 21; Danish Baig, 27; Rudy Peña, 23; and Madison Dubiski, 23. Several other people were hospitalized and more than a dozen remained under treatment on Sunday, November 7, authorities said. Their conditions weren’t immediately known.
The causes of death and other aspects of the tragic incident remain under investigation, Houston officials said on November 7. Turner told reporters, “There are a lot of unanswered questions. Over the next several days, several weeks, could be even longer, we’ll take an in-depth look at everything that took place, why it took place, what steps we can do moving forward to mitigate an incident of this kind from taking place.”
Travis Scott, a Houston-born rapper, was performing on stage as a mass casualty incident was declared in the crowd. Scott issued a statement on Twitter saying, “I’m absolutely devastated by what took place last night. My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival. Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.”
Scott added, “I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG park for their immediate response and support. Love you all.”
GoFundMe has started a relief hub to share verified fundraisers for the families of the victims. The verified GoFundMe campaigns can be found here. GoFundMe wrote, “On November 5, a densely packed crowd rushed the stage at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas. The surge left many attendees injured and resulted in eight people losing their lives at the music festival. Donate to the verified fundraisers below to support the individuals and families affected by the Astroworld Festival tragedy.”
These are the victims who were killed at the Astroworld Festival:
John Hilgert, 14
John Hilgert, of Houston, was the youngest victim of the Astroworld tragedy. Hilgert was identified by Memorial High School administrators, according to KTRK. He was a ninth grader at the school.
Principal Lisa Weir said in an email to parents, according to the news station, “Our hearts go out to the student’s family and to his friends and our staff at Memorial. This is a terrible loss, and the entire MHS family is grieving today.”
Hilgert’s baseball coach, Justin Higgs, wrote on Instagram, “RIP John Hilgert. He got the Call up to the Major Leagues by the Almighty! John made an impact on anyone who met him and they always remembered him. I have memories of John I’ll never forget. You had to love the kid. No option not too cause he was who he was. He loved the game if baseball. Was a privilege to coach this young man. Many prayers go out to any of his friends, teammates, and his family… especially Ms. Hilgert.”
Higgs added, “One of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. John was an Angel the whole time I knew him… impacting others for good and he himself was a legend. The legend of John. Will meet again John. Till then watch over us my friend. Catcher, pitcher, shortstop, great kid. Lived his life to the fullest.”
Tracy Faulkner, whose 15-year-old son, Robby Hendrix, was Hilgert’s friend and was at the concert festival with him, told the Houston Chronicle, “Everything about that night was a tragedy. John was a good student and athlete and so polite. He was the sweetest and smartest young man. They were both in the same place at the same time and one came home and one we will never see.”
Brianna Rodriguez, 16
Brianna Rodriguez’s aunt, Iris Rodriguez, wrote on Facebook, “Gone from our sights, but never from our hearts. It is with profound sadness we lay to rest our beloved Brianna Rodriguez. She was a beautiful vibrant 16-year-old high school junior at Heights HS in Houston TX. Dancing was her passion and now she’s dancing her way to heaven’s pearly gates. Anything is greatly appreciated.”
Iris Rodriguez added, “Who will now be extra with me 💔 you were my go big or go home person. You’re mom said to me always Nana is all you and now my mini me is gone. I don’t know how you continue life knowing you are missing a person that was the light of the family 😢 who will tell us what our Christmas themes will be, who can run to grandma first and say I got her first and give the biggest hugs. Your hugs were always a tight hug I will never feel them again. You were taken from us and I will never be the same.”
A verified GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Rodriguez’s family. They wrote on the fundraiser, “We want to thank everyone from the bottom of our heart for all the support and donations. Please continue with your prayers for the Rodriguez and Mendoza family.”
Franco Patino, 21
Franco Patino was attending Astroworld with his best friend, Jake Jurinek, who was also among the victims who died, according to The Daily Beast. Patino graduated from Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois, with Jurinek and he studied mechanical engineering at the University of Dayton.
Patino’s father, Julio Patino, told The Daily Beast, “He was happy and eating with his friend. He was having fun. I’m in shock, I’m angry, I’m all of the above right now. I’ve seen the images when people started coming in [to the event]. It was already overcrowded. When they could not control the crowd, when they knew the crowd would become so rowdy, the owner should have stopped it right then. They could have done something before it got to the point of no return.”
Patino’s brother, Cesar Patino, tweeted, “My brother died today. Bc of this concert. #ASTROWORLDFest … My poor brother….I just saw his body on this app…” Patino later tweeted that he was connected with the person who gave Franco CPR at the concert, “Finally found the guy that helped my brother by giving him CPR to resurrect him. Thank you all for making that happen. remember his name.”
Jake Jurinek, 20
Jacob “Jake” Jurinek was attending the concert with his high school friend, Patino, according to The Daily Beast. The Naperville, Illinois, native was studying at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, according to his Facebook page.
Jurinek’s family said in a statement, “Jake was beloved by his family and by his seemingly countless number of friends for his contagious enthusiasm, his boundless energy and his unwavering positive attitude. He was an avid fan of music, an artist, a son, a best friend to many and a loving and beloved cousin, nephew and grandson. Always deeply committed to his family, he was affectionately known as ‘Big Jake’ by his adoring younger cousins, a name befitting of his larger-than-life personality.”
According to The Daily Beast, Jurinek’s mother, Alison, died in 2011, and that brought him closer to his father, Ron. His family told the news site, “In the decade since, Jake and Ron were inseparable—attending White Sox and Blackhawks games, sharing their love of professional wrestling, and spending weekends with extended family and friends at Jake’s favorite place, the family cottage in Southwestern Michigan.”
Axel Acosta, 21
Axel Acosta was from Washington state and traveled to Houston to attend the concert. He was a student at Western Washington University, his family said, where he was studying to become a computer programmer. D
A verified GoFundMe has been started to help Acosta’s family. Cynthia Acosta wrote, “Axel who also goes by Antonio went missing on 11/5/21 he had gone to the Travis Scott concert in Texas and we weren’t able been able to get a hold of him since at 5pm on 11/5/21. His phone was found in the lost and found at the Concert and he hasn’t checked back into his hotel room. We have been making calls non stop to figure out where he might have been.”
She added, “We had made a Facebook post that was shared tremendously and we were able to get a lot more information from our locals then the police itself. We have called to identify his body but do to us being out of state we can not do anything until they run fingerprints. We are desperately trying to get the first flight available to head to Texas to bring him back home and be with his family. If anyone is willing to donate it would be greatly appreciated. The funds will be used for the flight to Houston Texas and will be used to cover funeral expenses.”
Danish Baig, 27
Danish Baig was from Euless, Texas, and was attending the concert with his fiancée. His brother, Basil Baig, told WFAA, “He died saving his fiancée. He died trying to save his love of his life.” Baig called his brother, “the most amazing person ever.” Basil Baig wrote on Facebook:
My brother was killed in this horrendous astroworld event that was managed poorly and supervised by such horrible people. People were trampled, walked, and stomped on. My brother tried to save my sister in law from these horrendous acts that were being done to her in the process he lost his life. My brother Danish Baig a beautiful soul whos smile would light up the room and put everyone before himself. Last night he showed his courageous act to save my sister in law/his fiance from those horrendous things that were being done. I am lost of words and in true trauma from this event. I was there and i wasnt able to save my brother. People were hitting pushing and shoving and did not care for anyones life. Travis Scott provoked these people and made them do just that and more he called people to the stage to jump into the crowd and did not stop the show. Multiple people have lost their lives and my prayers go out to their losses. In this time of mourning and grief and such pain i would like everyone to pray for my family and my brother. This is not the end my family and i will go to the Full extent to make sure he is brought to justice.
According to his Facebook page, Baig was originally from Karachi, Pakistan, and he graduated from Euless Trinity High School. He worked as a district manager for AT&T, according to his Facebook page.
His fiancee, Olivia Swingle, said on Facebook, “Thank you to everyone who has given their condolences. I have not been near my phone because it is overwhelming & I am at a loss. My heart is destroyed and my soul was taken from me. I was genuinely loved, I had someone that loved me more then anything in this world & not everyone gets to experience that kind of love. I am in Hell. I lost the love of my life, & I have so much I want to say but I cannot put it into words at this time.”
She added, “My baby, my love gave his life to save mine & I will spend the rest of my life making sure he gets the justice he deserves. I would not be here today if it was not for him, he is a hero and the world needs to know his story. This was an absolute tragedy & I do not know how to survive. His family and loved ones need time to heal & grieve so please at this time understand & give everyone the space they need to get through this.”
Basil Baig wrote on Facebook, “I love you my brother . I am scarred for life. You were my role model and i have so much pain in my heart. I cant believe i lost you . You were the closest to me i feel so lost. I want you to know you passed the test of life. Your bravery and your courageousness will never go unheard. You are everything and the world to me. I cant believe you’re not with us no more. I love you with all my heart. I cant stop crying and being in pain”
He added, “I will always look up to you brother and make you proud. Im not ever going to let you down. May you Rest In peace and Allah take you under his wing. You deserved the world and more and I can’t believe i lost you. My heart is in constant pain. Just know i love you and i will bring you to justice.”
Rudy Peña, 23
Rudy Pena was from Laredo, Texas, according to the Laredo Morning Times. His sister, Jennifer Pena, told the newspaper, “My brother was the sweetest person, friendly, outgoing, he had many friends because he was always there for everyone. Yes, he was a big fan of Travis, he loved his music.”
His cousin, Kimberly Escamilla, wrote on Facebook, “Rip to my cousin you will be missed i can’t believe this happened to u at the astros concert. 😭😭😭 you we’re always smiling and so nice!! And So handsome!🥺 I love you!!”
According to his Facebook, Pena studied at Laredo College. He graduated from Nixon High School. His friend, Stacey Sarmiento, told The Associated Press, “Rudy was a close friend of mine. We met in high school. He was an athlete… He brought happiness anywhere he went. He was easy to get along with. It was like positive vibes from him at all times. We all came to have a good time … it was just horrible in there.”
Madison Dubiski, 23
Madison Dubiski was identified as one of the victims by her mother, Michelle Dowling Dubiski. According to her Facebook page, Madison Dubiski lived in Houston and was originally from Cypress, Texas, where she graduated from Cypress Fair High School. Dubiski studied at the University of Mississippi and worked at Rhino Marketing Worldwide and previously worked at Houston Magazines.
Riley Dimeo wrote on Facebook, “After the tragedy on November 5, 2021 at Astroworld there will forever be a piece of my heart missing. Words will never be able to describe the pain of losing my best friend, secret keeper, sissy, and soulmate, Madison Alexis Dubiski. I have never known such pure love and friendship until Madison came into my life and I’m not really sure how life will continue without her. If you were fortunate enough to know mads you knew how beautiful, sweet, kind, generous, and loving she really was.”
She added, “She had a special way of making every single person she encountered in life feel special, appreciated, and accepted no matter what. I still cannot wrap my head around this tragedy or accept that fact that she is gone. Justice will come for our girl. I just know she is the most fabulous angel in Heaven. It was a true honor to call you my best friend and now my guardian angel. I love you forever. Until we meet again sissy girl.”