A Universal Music Group employee was among the victims of the terrorist attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris Friday night where UMG artist Eagles of Death Metal were headlining a sold-out performance.
Universal Music Group chairman-CEO Lucian Grainge confirmed the death of Mercury Records executive Thomas Ayad in what he called an “unspeakably appalling tragedy.” According to a report on Mashable, an Eagles of Death Metal crew member who worked on merchandising, Nick Alexander, 36, of Britain, was also killed at the Bataclan.
French authorities say as many as 80 people were killed after gunmen burst into the venue with automatic weapons and grenades and took hostages in the middle of the show. Witnesses have given chilling accounts of the gunmen methodically shooting hostages one by one before police moved in on the theater.
Ayad was an international product manager for UMG’s Mercury Records unit. Eagles of Death Metal just released their first album in seven years, “Zipper Down,” on UMG’s T-Boy imprint last month. The band members, according to multiple reports, escaped the venue in the initial chaos after the attack began. Grainge indicated that other UMG staffers were in the crowd at the Bataclan.
Universal Music Group is owned by French media and content group Vivendi.
Here is Grainge’s memo:
Today, I’m writing to you with a heavy heart.
We, like so many around the world, are struggling with last night’s horrific tragedy in France.
Paris is in our thoughts and prayers. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims as well as our fervent wishes for healing for all of those affected by this senseless violence.
This is especially painful and personal for all of us. As many of you know, the band Eagles of Death Metal is part of the UMe and Mercury France family. The band and its crew as well as our own teams from Mercury and other UMG staffs were present at the Bataclan theater for last night’s show.
At this point, we have confirmed that Thomas Ayad, an international product manager for Mercury Records lost his life in the attack on the theater. This is an unspeakably appalling tragedy. I cannot even begin to express the depth of my sorrow. On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we extend our most profound sympathies to his parents and all of his friends and family.
We will update you further as information permits. In the meantime, please send all healing thoughts and prayers for those affected by this heinous act.
Today is a dark day. We are a family. Let’s support one another as we grapple with the weight of this darkness.