The Toronto music community is mourning security guard and bouncer Kirk Wilson, 49, who worked at numerous venues and events and toured with Nelly Furtado.
The six-foot-five “gentle giant” is one of the Canadian victims of the shooting at Blue Parrot nightclub during the BPM Festival in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, around 2:30 a.m. Monday (Jan. 16).
“Kirk Wilson faithfully assisted on our security team for several international shows and was adored for his humility, kindness and easy nature,” Furtado said in a statement to Billboard. “He approached his work with great focus and selflessness; a first responder; an everyday hero. We are shocked and disheartened, and our thoughts are with his young family.”
“This is just devastating … Kirk Wilson was a kind and beautiful soul, and a devoted family man,” Furtado’s guitarist Sean Kelly wrote on Facebook. “[He was] always smiling, positive, and concerned for the well being of others. RIP my friend.”
Wilson, who was married with two children, also worked security for Toronto’s INK Entertainment, which owns REBEL, Uniun, and former concert venues Guvernment and Kool Haus.
A GoFundMe campaign for Wilson’s memorial fund was started by former tennis pro Karl Hale, who directs the Rogers Cup tournament, where Wilson provided security for the players for almost two decades. The fund was already approaching $20,000 of a $100,000 goal as of Monday night.
As a result of the shooting, five people are reportedly dead and another 15 injured, said Quintana Roo district attorney Miguel Angel Pech Sen at a press conference.
Pech Sen said two Canadians, one Italian and one Colombian citizen are among the dead. The Canadian government has not verified that report, and no other name had been released by press time.
Wilson, called a “doorman legend” by TorontoNightclub.com, was in Mexico to work at BPM (Jan. 6 to 15), co-founded by Toronto’s Phillip Anthony Pulitano (who also co-owns the Blue Parrot) and Montreal’s Craig Pettigrew. Canadians Alessandra Axelsson, Vito Tomasicchio and Nitin Kalyan also work as festival directors. It is BPM’s 10th anniversary.
INK Entertainment released a company statement about Wilson’s murder. “Our team is overcome with grief over this terrible tragedy, and would like to express our sincerest condolences to his family and friends for their loss. Kirk will be missed by the entire INK team.”
Revival Bar, another Toronto live music venue, also posted a statement to social media: “Our deepest condolences go out to the Wilson family as we hear the news of the passing of Kirk Wilson. Kirk was one of our employees during the early days at Revival. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this extremely tragic time. A profound loss for the Toronto community.”
Local DJ Spence Diamonds posted his own tribute, which was followed with many remembrances by friends, patrons and colleagues.
Another DJ, Tricky Moreira, also paid tribute to his comrade on social media:
The BPM Festival released the following statement on Facebook: