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Hansard vows to finish tour after man jumps to his death onto stage

OSCAR-winning singer Glen Hansard has bravely pledged to continue with his tour despite his shock at witnessing a man jump to his death onto the stage where he was performing.

Hansard has spoken of his shock at the tragic incident at his band's concert in northern California.

His band, The Swell Season, which includes his former partner Marketa Irglova, were performing an outdoor show in Saratoga when a man climbed onto a roof that covers the stage.



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Michael Pickels (32) of San Jose left a friend in the audience around 10pm and witnesses saw him jump off the roof and land just a few feet from the Irish singer.

Hansard put down his guitar and walked over to the man on stage for a few minutes as paramedics attended to him before eventually vacating the stage with Irglova and the rest of the band.

Hansard said that the band will remember the "tragic event" forever.

"We can't really say too much about it, it was a terrible shock," he said. "To everyone at the concert, my sympathies are with his family and friends and specially to the children and adults in the audience who had to witness such a tragic thing. Thankfully nobody else got hurt."

However, he confirmed on Twitter that the band would press on with their remaining dates and would even perform tonight.

"This was a deeply tragic event that we and all who were there last night will remember forever," he said.

"But ultimately, we have to move on. We're all okay. We talked all night and decided we must go on.

"Our deepest sympathies go to him and all who witnessed this."

Fans on The Swell Season's MySpace page spoke of how the tragedy would be "etched in our memories" but pleaded with the band to continue with the tour.

It is believed that Mr Pickels climbed up the lighting rig and then onto the roof before jumping onto the stage a few feet away from Hansard. Authorities have confirmed that they were treating his death as suicide.



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Sgt Rick Sung, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, said that the man left his seat midway into the concert.

"Next thing his friend and everyone at the concert sees he's standing on top of the roof and dove onto the stage," Sgt Sung said.

Sgt Sung said that paramedics and a doctor who was in the audience tried to revive the man with CPR for over an hour, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

clairemurphy@herald.ie