On Sunday, New York City officials shut down the fifth annual electronic music festival Electric Zoo after two concertgoers died overdosing on the party drug MDMA, also known as Ecstasy or molly. Olivia Rotondo, 20, reportedly told EMS workers “I just took six hits of molly,” before going into a seizure and dying.
Only hours before her death, Rotondo, from Providence, R.I., excitedly tweeted about the concert. “The amount of traveling I’ve done today is unreal. Just get me to the damn zoo,” the University of New Hampshire junior wrote.
Rotondo reportedly took the aforementioned six hits of MDMA at the festival Saturday and was rushed from Randall’s Island to Metropolitan Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 8:45 p.m.
“She was the nicest girl I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing,” Rotondo’s friend Noah Burkholz, who attended Electric Zoo with her, told the New York Times.
“She was a great kid — that’s all I can tell you,” her grandfather, Henry Rotondo, 73, told the New York Post.
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Another concertgoer, Jeffrey Russ, 23, of Rochester, N.Y., also overdosed on MDMA and died after being rushed to a Harlem hospital around 3 Saturday morning. Police do not believe there was any connection between Rotondo and the 23-year-old Syracuse University graduate Russ.
“Now there will be no grandchildren, no nieces, no nephews, no wedding,” Russ’ father, John Russ, told the Daily News. “Everything you look forward to in life is gone because of one pill.”
“I actually spoke to him Friday — and he was so happy. He was having so much fun,” Russ’ sister Melissa Russ, 25, told the Daily News.
Outside of Rotondo and Russ’ deaths, four other concertgoers were hospitalized for overdoses, but are expected to make full recoveries. According to Gothamist, a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on Friday, and 31 people were arrested for offenses including drug sales, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. At least two of the arrests were for felonies.
In response to the deaths, Electric Zoo organizers released a statement of condolences to Russ and Rotondo’s families. Organizers also offered refunds to those who purchased Sunday’s tickets.
"The founders of Electric Zoo send our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who passed away this weekend,” the concert’s promoters said in a statement.