Driving Home For Christmas singer Chris Rea ‘stable’ after collapsing on stage

Driving Home For Christmas hit-maker Chris Rea is thought to be in a “stable” condition after he collapsed on stage.

The singer-songwriter had been performing at the New Theatre Oxford when the incident happened on Saturday, with one audience member describing him “falling into a clump”.

Darren Fewins, who had been watching the show with his wife, told the Press Association the 66-year-old musician had been on stage for 40 to 45 minutes before he fell backwards.

Chris Rea on stage before he collapsed (Darren Fewins /Twitter)

“He was standing by the microphone and he had the guitar in his hand and he kept shaking his left hand as if there was something not quite right with it,” the 46-year-old said.

“He walked forward to the microphone and he was trying to grab the microphone with his left hand, and it was swinging from side-to-side.

“I thought at first there was something wrong with it and he was trying to keep it steady. He then took three or four steps backwards.

“Then he just collapsed on the stage backwards. There was no-one there to catch him, he just fell into a clump.

“He was on his back for about two minutes before they brought the curtain down and then that was it.”

Another audience member said Rea had been “slurring his words a lot through the song beforehand”.

Chris Rea (Darren Fewins/Twitter)

Rea is currently on his The Road Songs For Lovers live tour and had been due to perform at Brighton on Sunday and Bournemouth on Tuesday.

The Middlesbrough-born musician was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had his pancreas removed in 2001.

A spokeswoman for South Central Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 9.30pm to attend to an incident in George Street in Oxford.

“We had an ambulance crew on scene and one patient has now been taken to hospital.”

When asked about the condition of the person, she said they were “stable”.

Mr Fewins said Rea “looked brilliant” ahead of collapsing, and said he had been talking to the crowd and getting them to clap along to the songs.

“He looked fit, he looked well. He was changing guitars every song, and he just looked like someone who I have seen several times and was playing the best I have ever seen,” he said.

He said the unfolding situation, which came halfway through a song, “looked incredibly serious” and came as a shock to the audience.

Mr Fewins said staff eventually declared it was the end of the show and asked people to leave the venue.


 

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