One person has reportedly been killed and another 28 injured after a tornado ripped the roof off the Apollo Theater in Belvidere, Illinois. The venue was playing host to a concert by death metal pioneers Morbid Angel.
The band, who are currently on their 40 Years Of Acid tour, posted a message on Facebook urging fans still travelling to the show to change their plans.
"Tonight's show is cancelled due to a tornado that hit the venue, and caused the roof over the area in-front of the stage and marquee to collapse," wrote the band. "We ask anyone who is still traveling to the venue to please seek shelter and stay safe.
"We are currently sheltering in place, and want to extend our support and hope that everyone at the show tonight is safe. Right now our focus is on making sure everyone in the venue tonight is ok and gets home."
Chicago news channel WGN reports that a tornado warning was issued for Belvedere at 7.23pm, and that the first damage reports came in half an hour later. According to The BBC, 260 fans were at the show, with one person killed and 28 taken to hospital. Of those, five are believed to be in a critical condition. CBS News reports that the building was struck about 30 minutes into the concert, and that the first call to emergency services warned of a "mass casualty collapse".
Support acts Skeletal Remains, Revocation and Crypta have all issued statements expressing their support for the victims. "Thank you all for checking in with us," wrote Skeletal Remains. "Everyone on the tour package is alive and injury free. Our hearts go out to anybody in the crowd who were injured.
Revocation posted, "A tornado hit the venue tonight and the roof collapsed. ER crews are still attending to the injured and assessing the situation. Everyone in the bands and crew are safe. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this disaster. More details as they develop." Crypta reported they they were safe, but that their RV had been destroyed.
Music fan Theresa Best told WLS-TV that she was on her way to the show to meet friends who were already at the venue when the tornado struck. “The metal community is so nice, and my heart just aches for anybody who did lose their life," she said. "I just hope all my friends are OK."
The tornado is the latest in series of extreme weather events to hit the South and Midwest of The US. The states of Arkansas and Missouri have both declared states of emergency.