A 39-year-old member of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus collapsed in the middle of a performance Friday evening at the Herbst Theatre, and despite efforts to revive him, he died. Ryan Nunez had been a member of the chorus for a number of years and worked on staff as the group's Administrative Coordinator since 2014, as KRON 4 reports. Tim Seeling, artistic director and conductor of the chorus, posted to Facebook about the tragedy Saturday morning (see below), explaining that chorus members performed CPR for an hour on the risers onstage while the audience waited, during intermission, until he was pronounced dead by paramedics. "They had been unable to move him from the stage, so he died on the spot where he had sung the first half," Seeling wrote.
The group canceled the remainder of the performance, this season's dubbed "Paradise Found," but returned to do the final two performances of this series on Saturday, in Nunez's honor, as the Chronicle reported.
Writing on Saturday, Seeling said, "I have not experienced such shock or soul-shattering grief as that. Ever. The process will continue today as we sing two more concerts all about paradise on the very spot where Ryan left us. A task that right now seems completely impossible to do. We are all grasping for solace."
The group held a private memorial just before their Saturday afternoon concert.
In a statement, the SFGMC wrote "We have suffered one of the most profound tragedies and losses one can imagine. He was our voice to the world. Filled with humor and huge hugs for all he just took care of everyone." Also, they said, "No one loved SFGMC more than Ryan. It literally changed his life as knowing him has changed all of ours."
Members of the SFGMC often refer to it as their second family, and that tightness was in evidence just a few months ago when we learned that one member had received a life-saving liver transplant thanks to the generosity of another.