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Monday 26 September 2016

US singer Christina Grimmie shot dead in front of terrified fans

Published 11/06/2016 | 10:36

Christina Grimmie has been shot dead in Florida (AP)
Christina Grimmie has been shot dead in Florida (AP)

YouTube star and former The Voice contestant Christina Grimmie has been shot dead in front of terrified fans as she signed autographs after a concert.

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Kevin James Loibl, 27, was named by police as the man who blasted the 22-year-old minutes after she came off stage at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida, in the early hours of Saturday, UK time.

Her brother Marcus tackled Loibl, who shot himself dead in the scuffle, local police said. The killer, who was carrying two guns, was from St Petersburg, near Tampa, more than 100 miles from Orlando.

Tributes poured in for the young singer from New Jersey, who finished third in the sixth series of the US version of the hit reality show in 2014.

Her YouTube videos, including cover versions of songs including Adele's Hello and Justin Bieber's What Do You Mean, have since gained millions of views.

Adam Levine, the Maroon 5 lead singer who was Grimmie's mentor on The Voice, tweeted: "Behati (Prinsloo, his wife) and I are absolutely devastated and heartbroken by Christina Grimmie's death. Our hearts go out to her family."

Orlando Police Department said that Grimmie had performed with the band Before You Exit and stayed behind with them to sign autographs and merchandise after the show which finished at 10pm local time (3am BST).

A spokeswoman said there had been 120 people at the venue when the shooting happened, and added that Marcus was "a hero" who may have prevented the gunman killing more people.

She added: " He (the gunman) was armed with two loaded handguns and had additional ammunition on his person, as well as a hunting knife.

"Detectives are looking at his phone and computer in hopes of identifying a motive."

She added that while there were private security guards at the venue, there were no armed police there at the time.

Grimmie was rushed to hospital after the attack but died there a short time later.

A statement on the official Twitter page for the US version of The Voice added: "There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice. Our hearts go out to the friends, fans and family of @TheRealGrimmie."

A tweet simply reading "The end" was sent from Grimmie's account this afternoon.

Louisa Johnson, the winner of the 2015 UK series of The X Factor, was among those who paid tribute, saying: "Wow RIP #ChristinaGrimmie so sad."

British YouTube sensation Zoella - real name Zoe Suggs - tweeted: "So shocked, saddened & angry to hear about Christina Grimmie. What a tragic loss my thoughts are with her family, friends and fans."

Christina Aguilera and Pharrell Williams, who have both been been coaches on The Voice in the US, tweeted their sorrow at Grimmie's death.

Aguilera said: " So sad passing of @TheRealGrimmie. Beautiful member of #TheVoice family & true #Fighter. My heart goes out to her family, friends & fans. xo"

Williams added: " This is a tragic loss. My heart goes out to @TheRealGrimmie's family, friends and all the people that she touched."

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