‘This was not a concert’: The family of the 22-year-old Astroworld Festival victim spoke out after she was the 9th person to die in tragedy

Bharti Shahani’s family announced that her funeral will be Tuesday, Nov. 16, at Winford Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m. Read more: https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2021/11/09/22-year-old-texas-am-student-battling-for-life-from-astroworld-festival-brain-dead-attorneys-say/ SUBSCRIBE | https://www.click2houston.com/ Follow us: Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/KPRC2 Twitter | https://twitter.com/KPRC2 Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/kprc2

HOUSTON, Texas – The family of a 22-year-old Texas A&M student who was fighting for her life after the Astroworld Festival crowd surge said Bharti Shahani has died.

An attorney said Shahani -- one of those who had been hospitalized since Friday’s tragic event -- was declared dead Wednesday night at 6:50 p.m., bringing the death toll to nine.

Prior to Wednesday, KPRC 2′s Cathy Hernandez spoke to the law firm representing the family and was told Shahani was on a ventilator and had suffered a severe brain injury.

“Bharti is love,” her mother said at the news conference. “Bharti is love. Bharti is giving.”

Shahani’s mother said she always helped her and was an excellent student, working late nights for top grades at school. She was a computer science major at Texas A&M and had an online clothing business with which she hoped to support her family.

Her father said she was the backbone of the family and always hoped to help them as they struggled with their health.

“What happened to her?” Shahani’s mother said. “I want my baby back. I won’t be able to live without her. It’s impossible. I’m empty... This was the first thing she asked me in her life, ‘Mama, can I go to this concert?’ Why didn’t I say no to her? You know why? Because this was the first thing she asked me for herself. At first I said, ‘No, no,’ because we don’t go to concerts. We don’t even know what this concert was all about. I know a concert might be music, you know? Having fun. Girls having fun. But this is not a concert, right? This was not a concert. I don’t know what it was, but this was not a concert because, you know, my baby did not come back. This was not a concert at all.”

The Shahani family released these photos of Bharti Shahani at a news conference on Nov. 11, 2021. Bharti was declared dead on Nov. 10, 2021. (Shahani Family)
The Shahani family released these photos of Bharti Shahani at a news conference on Nov. 11, 2021. Bharti was declared dead on Nov. 10, 2021. (Shahani Family)
The Shahani family released these photos of Bharti Shahani at a news conference on Nov. 11, 2021. Bharti was declared dead on Nov. 10, 2021. (Shahani Family)
The Shahani family released these photos of Bharti Shahani at a news conference on Nov. 11, 2021. Bharti was declared dead on Nov. 10, 2021. (Shahani Family)
The Shahani family released these photos of Bharti Shahani at a news conference on Nov. 11, 2021. Bharti was declared dead on Nov. 10, 2021. (Shahani Family)

Shahani’s organs are going to be donated, according to her family.

“Always giving, no taking,” her mother said.

Shahani’s sister said she was her best friend and a second mother whom she cannot remember being without.

Her sister said she was holding Shahani’s hand that night.

“It just feels like that day never ended. It feels like we’re living in this nightmare that never ended, and every day I wake up, I constantly wish that maybe it was all a dream. Maybe it was just a big nightmare, and it’ll finally be over, and I’ll finally see my sister again. Finally hold her again, finally hug her again, tell her how much I love her... I was there with her, holding her hand, and once that happened, the next time I saw her she was in the ER, unconscious on a ventilator.

“I just want to ask everyone, right, not just Houston, I feel like as a world, this is our responsibility to make sure that we get justice for this. Things like this shouldn’t be happening, especially now, especially after all we have faced, right? ... It’s not normal,” her sister said. “This is her first music festival. It was our first music festival. She was looking forward to it. She had her outfits planned. She bought everything. She tried everything on. She showed me. Never once had we [thought] that we both wouldn’t make it back home -- or back to the hotel that night.”

Bharti’s family announced that her funeral will be Tuesday, Nov. 16, at Winford Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m.

Watch: Family of Astroworld Festival victim speaks after daughter’s declared death

The family of Bharti Shahani spoke on Thursday, Nov. 11, saying that their daughter had been declared dead, nearly a week after the Astroworld Festival.

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About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.

Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!