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Family mourns Dallas-area man who they say died saving fiancée at Astroworld Festival in Houston

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

Danish Baig was identified by family as one of eight people killed after crowds surged at rapper Travis Scott’s headline performance Friday night.
Flowers
Flowers lie against the south fence surrounding the Astroworld festival grounds the day after several people died and scores were injured during a concert the night before at NRG Park, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)(Michael Wyke / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By Hojun ChoiNataly Keomoungkhoun and Maggie Prosser

A Dallas-area family is mourning the loss of Danish Baig, a 27-year-old man who died saving his fiancée during the chaos that unfolded Friday night at the Astroworld Festival in Houston, his family said.

Baig was identified by family as one of the people killed after crowds surged during Houston rapper Travis Scott’s headline performance at the sold-out, two-day music festival. The crowd totaled an estimated 50,000 and the concert is believed to be one of the deadliest in U.S. history, officials said.

A traditional Muslim funeral service for Baig was held Sunday afternoon at the Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home and Memorial Park in Colleyville.

Danish Baig’s younger brother, Basil Mirza Baig, said at a news conference that his brother was attempting to save his fiancée, identified on social media as Olivia Swingle, who was caught in the crowd.

“He died trying to save the love of his life,” Basil Baig said. “We’re all in pain. We want all of you guys to empathize and pray for our family. We all want you guys to pray for the people who lost their kids.”

Swingle said in a Facebook post Sunday evening that her heart had been “destroyed” following Baig’s death.

“I am in Hell,” she said. “I would not be here today if it was not for him, he is a hero and the world needs to know his story.”

Friends and family said the 27-year-old had a lovely personality and that he was always smiling. Danish Baig’s uncle, Mirza Baig, said he never saw frustration on his nephew’s face.

“He always came and hugged me when I saw him — always,” Mirza Baig said. “Any time he found out someone needed help, he was the first one there.”

Basil Baig also called for accountability from festival organizers for the other victims; seven other people were killed in the crowd, ranging from ages 14 to 27, and 13 people were hospitalized Sunday, according to Houston officials.

“We’re really really hurt, we’re grieving with you guys and just want you to know that we’re here,” he said. “We’re going to stay here and we’re going to get justice for them. We’re going to make it happen.”

At least one lawsuit has been filed by an Astroworld attendee against Travis Scott and organizers ScoreMore and Live Nation, Billboard reported. Manuel Souza, who was injured, filed a petition Saturday in Harris County District Court claiming that the incident was a “predictable and preventable tragedy.”

Travis Scott said in a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday that he was “absolutely devastated” following the events from Friday and that he is supporting Houston police as they investigate.

“I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need,” he said.

In a social media post, Basil Mirza Baig said Danish Baig was trampled and killed in the general admission crowd while Scott performed. Basil described in the post people being “walked, and stomped on,” and others who were hitting, pushing and shoving one another.

In the post, Basil Baig said his brother was a “beautiful soul whose smile would light up the room and put everyone before himself.”

The siblings drove from Dallas to the festival in Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called the disaster “a tragedy on many different levels” and said it was too early to draw conclusions about what went wrong. Dozens were injured.

“It may well be that this tragedy is the result of unpredictable events, of circumstances coming together that couldn’t possibly have been avoided,” said Judge Lina Hidalgo, Harris County’s top elected official. “But until we determine that, I will ask the tough questions.”

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said his department noticed attendees “going down” at 9:30 p.m. and immediately notified concert organizer Live Nation.

Scott continued to perform, bringing rapper Drake on stage at one point, for about 40 minutes after discussions with the fire department and officials with NRG Park, where the concert took place.

Scott, one of music’s biggest young stars, founded the Astroworld Festival in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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