Jazz star Patti Austin cancels Beijing concert after suffering asthma attack

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 October, 2013, 4:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 October, 2013, 9:08am

Grammy winner Patti Austin was forced to cancel her performance in Beijing last night after she suffered an asthma attack, as the city was once again shrouded in smog for the whole day.

The 63-year-old singer was treated for severe asthma in combination with a respiratory infection at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital yesterday morning, according to a statement from the concert organiser.

Austin is in the mainland for two "Master Hall" concerts as part of the JZ Festival. She was scheduled to perform in Shanghai tonight.

Austin was "extremely disappointed" that she was unable to perform last night, according to the organiser, who promised to reschedule the show.

The statement did not say what triggered her illness but many Beijing music lovers were quick to blame yesterday's poor air quality in the capital.

"The concert host said she was admitted to hospital for respiratory infection soon after arriving at Beijing," Yang Jian, who had hoped to see Austin's show, wrote on Sina Weibo. "I think we in Beijing should apologise to her. Our air is so bad that she was poisoned."

The Air Quality Index from Beijing environmental authorities showed the air was "heavily polluted" yesterday, meaning that even healthy people could suffer effects to their health.

Readings at the US embassy showed the air was "hazardous", with the concentration of PM2.5, the tiny particulate pollutants that can lodge in the lungs, surpassing 300 micrograms per cubic metre.

Austin is not the first foreign celebrity to fall victim to Beijing's notorious smog. Earlier this month, Swedish tennis player Robert Lindstedt called the city's smoggy air "a joke".

"I get dizzy when I get up," Lindstedt wrote on his blog when he played in the China Open while Beijing was covered in a choking smog for three days.

"Yesterday I couldn't recover between points in practice and was breathing heavily the whole hour," he continued. "If you blow your nose in the evening, the paper turns black. It's just not healthy to be here."