Celebs Who Have Collapsed On Stage

For those who make their living onstage, performing in front of hundreds or even thousands of living, breathing human beings is an incomparable experience. The stage, however, can also be a pretty unforgiving place to experience a health issue, particularly when all of the fans in the audience are watching an artist's every move, and that star suddenly collapses in the midst of a performance. 

It has happened to some of the biggest names in the entertainment world. And when an entertainer does experience an onstage collapse, fans understandably become concerned and want to know why. Then, it's up to the celeb's PR rep to explain what happened. In many cases, the reason given for a collapse is dehydration — something that often stirs up skepticism, given that it's become something of a catch-all diagnosis whenever a celebrity is mysteriously hospitalized.

While dehydration may be a popular reason, by no means is it the only one.

Shock rocker Marilyn Manson was overcome by 'heat poisoning'

Marilyn Manson burst onto the music scene in the 1990s, pushing the envelope with his 1996 shock-rock classic, "Antichrist Superstar." Back in 2018, Manson was performing in Houston, Texas, and wasn't feeling well at all. According to a report from the Houston Press, photographers in the pit at the front of the stage were asked to exit because the singer — described as being quite ill — didn't want his photo taken under the circumstances. 

Despite the way he felt, Manson took to the stage, but warned fans that he was not at his best. "I've actually had some heat poisoning," he said, via a video from The Guardian. Suffice it to say, the show didn't go well. Earlier in the concert, a fan-shot video shows Manson kneeling on the ground as he sang before toppling over. He took his big fall right in the midst of performing "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," with the Guardian's video documenting the precise moment that he keeled over. 

The show ended after that, with rocker Rob Zombie — who was touring with Manson — taking over to begin his own set. ‌"My dear friend Mr. Manson is feeling under the weather," Zombie told the crowd, as reported by The Guardian. "He's probably on the bus feeling like crap." Manson later addressed his onstage nosedive with a brief message on Twitter. "Thanks Houston for being understanding," he wrote. "I ended up in doctor's care, but I gave it my best and you guys were amazing."

Dehydration led Tim McGraw to collapse during a concert

Ever since Tim McGraw began to seriously embrace fitness in his 40s, the country singer has become nearly as famous for his ripped physique as he is for his infectious music. Being in tip-top shape, however, didn't prevent him from collapsing while performing at a 2018 music festival in Dublin, Ireland. An eyewitness, concert attendee Stephen Sweeney, told People that McGraw sat down on the drum riser just as the lights dimmed, at which point he heard a thudding sound. "Then the lights flashed on and we could see Tim kneeling on the left-hand side of the stage," he recalled. "Two people ran on and carried him off stage."

McGraw's wife, singer Faith Hill — who also performed at the festival — later came onto the stage and told the audience that all the traveling he'd been doing had left him dehydrated, which she blamed for his collapse. "He's been super dehydrated, and I apologize — I made the decision that he cannot come back out on stage," she said, via a fan-shot video posted on Instagram.

A representative for the country singer subsequently confirmed Hill's diagnosis. "Tim McGraw was suffering from dehydration ... He was attended to by local medical staff on-site and will be fine," the rep said in a statement to People. "He and [wife Faith Hill] thank everyone for their love and support and look forward to seeing their Irish fans again soon."

Wendy Williams' on-air faint preceded a serious medical diagnosis

Wendy Williams parlayed a successful radio career into television success with her daytime talk show, "The Wendy Williams Show." In November 2017, Williams was on the stage of her set, costumed as the Statue of Liberty during a Halloween-themed episode. As she read from a teleprompter, her eyes widened as she appeared to wobble, substituting the word "caress," for guest. Suddenly, she began staggering backward, her face registering an expression of panic, and then she crumpled to the floor. 

The following day, she addressed her fainting spell on the air, telling viewers the costume had left her overheated and experiencing dizziness. "It was scary," she admitted, becoming emotional. She suggested her collapse had resulted from pushing herself too hard, or possibly from the effects of menopause. "Right before passing out, I felt like I was in the middle of a campfire," she shared.

The following February, she revealed she'd been diagnosed with Graves' disease, an autoimmune condition targeting the eyes and thyroid, informing viewers her doctor had ordered her to take a three-week hiatus from her show. In 2020, she announced she'd be pausing the show due to the fatigue she was experiencing from the disease. Planned returns to the show were delayed due to her health, with guest hosts holding down the fort until the show was canceled in 2022.

Aerosmith's Joe Perry hadn't eaten in days when he passed out

As a sideline to his main gig with Aerosmith, guitarist Joe Perry plays in Hollywood Vampires, a supergroup featuring Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, and Johnny Depp. In the midst of a 2016 Vampires show, recounted by Rolling Stone, Perry suddenly appeared dazed, crumpling down to sit on the drum riser before staggering backstage. It was then that he reportedly fell unconscious. After he was revived by an EMT, he was taken to a Brooklyn, New York hospital. "Joe Perry is stable and resting," a rep for the band told the magazine. "His brother Vampires and fans wish him a speedy recovery." 

According to Cooper, watching Perry's health crisis unfold before his eyes was a sobering experience. "It scared the hell out of me," he told Rolling Stone. Cooper blamed the pace of the tour, noting that while Aerosmith typically plays two shows each week during a tour, the Vampires were on their eighth date in nine days. "We were doing 25 to 30 songs with no break," Cooper explained. "You're in fourth gear, and there's no 24-hour resting period. I think it just caught up with him. He finally got up there onstage, dehydrated. And I think he was exhausted. He told me the night before he hadn't eaten in two days."

Two years later, Perry suffered a similar collapse after joining Billy Joel during a show at Madison Square Garden and was hospitalized.

Alexa Ray Joel lost consciousness during NYC cabaret show

The aforementioned Billy Joel isn't the only musician in the family; his daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, is also a singer, songwriter, and pianist. In 2014, she was at the tail end of a two-week stint at New York City's famed Café Carlyle when, mid-show, she told the crowd that she felt ill, and was experiencing pain in her back and neck. Shortly after that, she collapsed and was rushed to a nearby hospital. 

While hospitalized, Alexa was diagnosed with a condition known as vasovagal syncope, which causes blood pressure and heart rate to drop suddenly, resulting in a reduction of blood flow to the brain that ultimately leads to unconsciousness. This condition is typically not seen as too serious and clears up on its own without treatment.

Alexa addressed her collapse in a statement she issued to Page Six. "I wanted to thank everyone for coming out to support me. I was excited and determined to fulfill my final performance and I really wanted to end my run with a bang, but this was not what I had in mind and hope I have the opportunity to make it up to the wonderful audience very soon," she said. 

Justin Bieber was hospitalized after on-stage collapse

Canadian pop superstar Justin Bieber has certainly had his share of medical issues in recent years — most notably his 2022 revelation he was experiencing facial paralysis due to Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

Nearly a decade earlier, however, he was hit with a different medical malady while performing at London's 02 Arena. As the Daily Mail reported at the time, he collapsed while in the midst of his 2013 performance, reportedly because he was having a hard time breathing. He was whisked off stage, where medical personnel examined him. Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, came out and told the audience that doctors were anxious to bring Bieber to a hospital in order to do a thorough examination to see if there was something up with the singer's lungs. However, Braun added, "[Bieber] has just told me that if it's okay with you guys he's going to come out and finish the show. Alright?"

Trouper that he is, Bieber did indeed return to the 02 stage to finish the concert. Later, Bieber took to Twitter to confirm he was being seen by physicians and was feeling better. Thanking his fans for their understanding, he wrote, "figuring out what happened. thanks for the love."

Meat Loaf was rushed into emergency surgery after passing out

Meat Loaf hit it big in the late 1970s with a string of hits off his "Bat Out of Hell" album. In 2016, the rocker was performing in the Canadian city of Edmonton when he collapsed, tumbling forward in the midst of a verse. "He fell ... he just fell," audience member Jamie Carriere told CBC News. "You could hear the microphone just hit the ground." A subsequent statement was issued, attributing his collapse to dehydration. According to the outlet, Meat Loaf had experienced onstage collapses before, during a 2003 show in London, and eight years later while performing in Pittsburgh.

In a subsequent interview, he blamed his collapse on the extreme back pain he'd been experiencing. "I literally was dying on stage, I was in so much pain. But I didn't want to cancel because I hate canceling," he told the Evening Standard. After that Edmonton gig, he underwent emergency spinal surgery, which he said had fixed the problem. Speaking with Louder Sound, Meat Loaf admitted that his collapse was a major wakeup call with respect to his health, revealing that he'd lost 20 pounds and was aiming at shedding 15 more. "I'm going to acupuncture, physical therapy, and a trainer, starting Monday for four days a week, an hour and a half each session," he said. 

Meat Loaf died in 2022 at the age of 74.

Kelly Rowland fainted during Nigerian music festival

Kelly Rowland is best known as a member of vocal trio Destiny's Child, alongside Michelle Williams and Beyoncé, until the group split up in 2006. 

In 2007, Rowland embarked on a career as a solo artist, which saw her traveling to Nigeria to perform at the ThisDay Music Festival in Lagos. That performance, however, did not go as planned when her show was abruptly cut short when she collapsed while onstage. In a fan-shot video, Rowland can be seen singing, surrounded by backing dancers, when she suddenly crumples, dropping to her knees before crashing onto the stage, face-first. 

According to Rowland's rep, Yvette Noel Schure, the cause of her collapse was dehydration, and the singer was being seen by doctors. In an e-mail, reported CBS News, Schure stated that Rowland had been taken to a hospital to be examined and that her condition was good. Rowland subsequently addressed her collapse in an interview with Popjustice. When asked if she was "pleased" that video of her collapse had gone viral, she replied, "It was what it was, it was a medical condition, I just happened to collapse — I was dehydrated, if it's the joke of the day then those people are real sickos but I'm not worried about it."‌

Grateful Dead alum Bob Weir fell over mid-song

Bob Weir joined legendary jam band Grateful Dead in 1965 when he was only 17 years old. After the group disbanded following the death of guitarist and bandleader Jerry Garcia, Weir and other members of the band kept the fire burning in an offshoot band, Furthur.

During a 2013 Furthur concert at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, Weir reportedly struggled to remain upright throughout the show. At one point, fan-shot video showed Weir stumbling and then falling over while playing the guitar. A roadie rushed over and helped him to his feet, but it was clear to anyone watching he was in no condition to perform. He was eventually escorted off stage, and the band continued the show without him. According to Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik's statement on Facebook (via Relix), Weir was suffering from extreme shoulder pain, and it was possible that he mistakenly took an Ambien sleeping pill, thinking he was taking a painkiller.

Weir was back on stage a couple of nights later, but then the group announced it was taking a hiatus, even canceling a tour date. "Grateful Dead & Furthur co-founder Bob Weir is unable to perform in any capacity for the next several weeks," read a statement (via Billboard) from the group's website. Weir did indeed return to the stage, and never again experienced a similar collapse. In summer 2023, he completed his final tour with Grateful Dead offshoot band, Dead & Company, before embarking on another tour with his other band, Wolf Bros.

Rihanna was overcome by heat during Sydney show

In 2008, global music superstar (and, let's not forget, fashion tycoon) Rihanna was performing at the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, during her Good Girl Gone Bad tour. When she came around to the concert's final song, her hit "Umbrella" — joined on stage by then-boyfriend Chris Brown — she reportedly bent over and held her stomach as she collapsed. She abruptly exited the stage, still clenching her stomach. With no explanation for her collapse offered, TMZ reported that it was the result of an issue with the venue's air conditioning. 

Eventually, Rihanna's team began to offer explanations. "She was suffering from dehydration and the effects of smoke inhalation from the pyrotechnics," Rihanna's spokesperson told Nine News shortly after the incident. Meanwhile, someone identified as Rihanna's rep offered a bit more detail in a statement to MTV News. "It was very hot at the venue, so after Rihanna's set was over, she went offstage and needed to sit down, catch her breath and have some water," the rep said. "She is perfectly healthy and will be at her show tomorrow."

Rihanna did indeed perform at her subsequent show the next night and continued the tour without further incident. Whatever led to her onstage collapse was apparently a one-time thing and not an ongoing medical issue.

Madonna fell into the arms of a backup danger

Madonna was forced to postpone her 2023 tour after experiencing a health crisis, but that wasn't the first time that the frailty of the flesh interrupted one of her performances. During her 2009 Sticky & Sweet tour, she was performing in Sofia, Bulgaria when she reportedly collapsed during the show — twice.

According to The Sun, as reported by Cosmopolitan, she fell unconscious while singing "Holiday." Luckily, a fast-thinking backup dancer caught her as she fell, preventing the music icon from injuring herself by crashing to the stage. Then, while performing the song "Spanish Lesson," she was on her way off stage when she again lost consciousness and fell. "Madge was really worried backstage. She had to sit down for a longer break than usual between songs," a source told the outlet. "She refused to end the show or take a break after the 'Holiday' dizzy spell. It turns out she's suffering from exhaustion. She is anemic."

According to the source, doctors advised her to postpone two upcoming shows in Israel, but she insisted on carrying on. She did, however, agree to take a break after those concerts in order to get some much-needed rest.

Drummer Keith Moon passed out onstage and made rock history

Few musicians better embodied the stereotype of rock star excess than Keith Moon, drummer for The Who. Prior to his 1978 death, Moon's bonkers hotel room antics were already iconic, ranging from blowing up toilets with cherry bombs to once hacking every piece of furniture to splinters with an axe. 

However, one Who concert became legendary — not for Moon's extraordinary drum prowess, but because of the lack of it. During the band's 1973 show at San Francisco's Cow Palace, Moon passed out behind the drum kit, right in the middle of a performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again." Given that Moon had already slumped over and passed out a few times (he may have allegedly ingested some horse tranquilizers), fed-up guitarist Pete Townshend then asked the crowd, "Can anybody play the drums?"

After some encouragement from a friend who pushed him toward the stage, audience member Scot Halpin volunteered. "Next thing I knew, [promoter] Bill Graham took me backstage and turned me over to the drum roadie who sort of prepped me as to the drum setup. And then I came popping out behind the drum kit," he told Drum! Halpin wound up sitting in with the band for the rest of the concert — about 15 minutes. "I played long enough with them that no one booed and no one threw anything at the stage," Halpin proudly told SFGate.‌

Carlos Santana suffered an onstage collapse that had fans worried

Guitarist Carlos Santana created a unique niche within the rock landscape, fusing blistering guitar solos with Latin rhythms. In 2022, the musician was performing at the Pine Knob Music Theatre, just outside of Detroit, when he collapsed in the midst of the show. After medical professionals performed first aid on the stage for about 20 minutes, Santana was placed on a gurney and wheeled off so he could be taken to a hospital. "Ladies and gentlemen as you can see, we have a severe medical emergency," a staffer at the venue announced over the sound system, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. "Let's share our prayers ... We need it right now ... Please send your light and love to this man."

A message was subsequently posted on Santana's website. "Rock Legend Carlos Santana was over-taken by heat exhaustion and dehydration during a concert Tuesday (July 5) evening in Michigan," read the statement. Santana later shared a message of his own. "Forgot to eat and drink water so i dehydrated and passed out," he wrote on Facebook. He wound up postponing his next gig, minutes before he was scheduled to take to the stage.

Fans were understandably thankful that the cause of his collapse wasn't something more serious, given that Santana had canceled several shows when he was hospitalized the previous year to undergo a medical procedure on his heart.

Comedian Heather McDonald got a skull fracture while doing standup

Standup comic Heather McDonald was best known for her appearances on Chelsea Handler's E! talk show, "Chelsea Lately," before becoming a bestselling author and launching her own podcast. 

In February 2022, McDonald was performing at a comedy club in Tempe, Arizona. Just a few minutes into her set — noted by a message her team posted on Facebook – she collapsed, and was taken to an area hospital. The message pointed out that she hadn't had any alcohol, and that medical tests performed at the hospital didn't indicate any apparent reason for her collapse. However, when she fell, McDonald smashed her head on the stage, hard enough that she suffered a fractured skull. 

"I'm really, you know, just recovering from hitting the back of my head really hard. Because I just went, like, timber," she told Arizona's 12 News. "Never in my life would I think that something like that would happen on stage ever."