Ariana Grande has taken her Dangerous Woman tour to South America, but she has kept the victims of the May 22 bombing outside Manchester Arena close to her heart. After her concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday night (July 5) Grande hit Instagram to pay respect to the youngest victim of the terror attack at her Manchester show that took the lives of 22 fans.
“Saffie, we’re [thinking] of you baby,” Grande wrote with a birthday cake emoji on what would have been Saffie Rose Roussos’ ninth birthday.
BBC News spoke to the young victim’s parents about their daughter. Father Andrew described her as a “joker. She was a huge character… She was just everything you could wish for in a little girl. She loved dancing, music, gymnastics. If she wanted something, she would do it,” he added. “[She loved] fame, stardom. I knew that Saffie would love her pictures to be on, and to be spoken about on TV.”
Saffie attended the show with her mother, Lisa, and 26-year-old sister Ashlee Bromwich. Lisa Roussos was injured in the incident and has undergone several operations after being placed in a medically induced coma. She found out her daughter died after waking from the coma. Andrew Roussos recalled meeting Grande before the One Love Manchester concert in June.
“I wanted to tell her what she meant to Saffie,” he said. “I wanted to tell her from a father’s point of view that she’s got nothing to be sorry for… It wasn’t her fault… All she could say to me was, ‘I’m sorry’, and I said, ‘You’ve got nothing to be sorry for. You made Saffie so happy with what you do’.
“She thanked me,” he said. “She appreciated me telling her that.”
The Manchester Evening News reported that hundreds of people also gathered in Roussos’ hometown of Leyland, Lancashire, on the eve of what would have been her birthday to release hundreds of balloons and honor her memory.
Hundreds have turned out in Leyland to release balloons for Saffie Roussos, killed in the Arena attack, on what would’ve been her 9th bday. pic.twitter.com/DwAaPX4GsC
— Daniel Hewitt (@DanielHewittITV) July 4, 2017