Singer Ariana Grande's mother could have run backstage to safety with her daughter after a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people outside a concert in Manchester, England, on May 22. Instead, she rounded up as many fans as she could and took them backstage with her to safety amid the chaos.
The bomb detonated at the close of the concert, as Ariana and her crew left the stage, reports TMZ. Ariana's mother, Joan, who was sitting in the front row, was preparing to go backstage and see her daughter, while a number of fans nearby were preparing to leave the arena.
The media outlet estimated Joan then honed in on a group of up to 10 kids sitting near her and brought them with her to safety. She and her security team reportedly waited with and comforted the shaken fans until they could safely leave the arena.
The bomb, which killed 22 people, including a 8-year-old girl, went off just outside the venue as people were heading out as the concert ended, officials at the arena stated, reports the New York Daily News. At least 59 people, including children, were injured in the blast, although the Daily Mail reported 119 injuries.
Ariana, who was not physically harmed, is reportedly "in hysterics" and "in no condition to perform," sources told TMZ. She had two more concerts scheduled in England, including one at London's O2 Arena on May 25, but she has suspended her "Dangerous Woman" tour temporarily, notes CNN. She was also slated to perform in Belgium, Poland, Germany and Switzerland.
"Broken," the 23-year-old singer tweeted after the tragedy. "From the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."
Ariana's management team also commented on the shocking events.
"Words [cannot] express our sorrow for the victims and families harmed in this senseless attack," it said in a statement. "We mourn the lives of children and loved ones taken by this cowardly act. We ask all of you to hold the victims, their families, and all those affected in your hearts and prayers."
Aaron Spears, Ariana's drummer, recounted the incident to Fox News, saying the entire band and crew made it out safely, but the "painful memory" will "live with us all forever," notes the Daily Mail.
Spears said they had no idea at first that the loud bang that they heard on their way out was an explosion.
"It's so heartbreaking because so many little ones attend our shows," he said, adding, "I just keep thinking about them."