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Pearl Jam pays emotional tribute to fans who died in Roskilde Festival tragedy, 20 years later

Jenna Ryu
USA TODAY

Pearl Jam is remembering the individuals who died at one of their performances 20 years ago with a moving tribute.

On June 30, 2000, nine fans were trampled to death in a mosh pit during the band's performance at Denmark music festival Roskilde. 

Pearl Jam released a statement Tuesday authored by guitarist Stone Gossard to express their grief for the loss of the victims, remembering when an "unexpected moment intervened that forever changed all involved."

"The lives of their families and loved ones who had to endure imagining their deaths over and over and the reality of never seeing them again," Gossard wrote. "Every person at the festival who witnessed what was happening and tried to do something, maybe pulling someone up, or not being able to … And those, like our band, who never realized anything was going on at all until it was too late." 

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Twenty years later, the members of Pearl Jam continued to remember the pain of the event and apologized to the families who were personally affected.

"And our pain is a thousandth of that of the families. … the moms and dads, sisters and brothers, best friends … Our deepest condolences and apologies to the families who lost their boys that day. To the brothers and sisters, grandmas and grandpas and friends, all who lost their precious being … Everyone failed to live up to what was needed in those hours before and in those days following the tragedy."

Gossard noted that the band has met and formed strong relationships with some of these families over the years. 

"Young men who loved PJ and wanted to get up close. That was the through-line of all those who passed that day. We hope we will never know what that loss feels like. We hope," he wrote. "We are forever in the shadow of your pain and loss and we accept that shade and are forever grateful to share that sacred space. The space created by the absence of those 9 young men."

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