An out queer music executive has been identified as one of the victims who died last month after a condo partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida.
Shortly before the building’s horrifying collapse on June 24, Theresa Velásquez, a 36-year-old music executive for Live Nation, was visiting her parents who lived at the condo, according to the Miami Herald. At approximately 1:20 a.m., Velasquez’s trip took a fatal turn when Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condo in Florida, abruptly caved in and ravaged the area. Velásquez’s parents, Angela and Julio, also died as a result of the disaster.
According to officials, Velásquez’s body was found under rubble at the condo on July 8. The music executive is one of 97 victims who died when the building collapsed, police said. Eleven individuals were injured and 35 were rescued from unaffected parts of the condo, according to the New York Times. One person has still not been identified by officials.
During Velásquez’s six-year career at Live Nation, she fought for more LGBTQ representation in the music business. Last June, she was featured on Billboard’s Pride top 40 list of “Industry-Shaping LGBTQ Executives.” In the mini-bio, Velásquez described DJ’ing at queer events as her side hustle.
“Occasionally for Pride month I’ll do back-to-back gigs and remember afterward that I’m 35 and don’t recover quite the same way,” Velásquez told Billboard.
Two years ago, she also took to social media to celebrate National Coming Out Day. Alongside a marriage proposal video and the hashtag “proud AF,” Velásquez detailed the importance of her LGBTQ identity.
“For me, coming out meant more than an affirmation… rather, it was a way to honor the courageous people before me and empower those people who haven’t found the strength to live their truth and realize that they are perfect just the way God made them,” she wrote in the post.
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In a written statement, Live Nation recalled Velásquez as an advocate for women and LGBTQ people in the music industry.
“Our hearts break for the loss of our beloved Theresa Velasquez, her parents Angela and Julio, and everyone taken far too soon in the tragic accident in Surfside, FL,” Live Nation said. “Theresa was an impassioned leader at Live Nation, who elevated every project she was part of, at the same time breaking down barriers for women and the LGBTQIA+ community. We will always remember and honor the impact she made, and will miss her dearly.”
As authorities continue to investigate the site, some experts believe the building collapsed because of structural issues. Allyn E. Kilsheimer, a forensic engineer, who is investigating the wreckage, told the New York Times it’s possible the building used less steel than what was proposed for in earlier plans.
The building’s collapse comes amid a history of similar issues at the condo. According to the New York Times, a report from 2018 details rusting steel and crumbling concrete at the site.
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