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Curtis Mayfield Injured in Stage Accident

August 15, 1990|CHUCK PHILIPS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Soul singer Curtis Mayfield is paralyzed from the neck down and remains in serious condition after being hit by a lighting scaffold blown down by a gust of wind during an outdoor concert Monday night in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mayfield, composer of such classic R&B tunes as "People Get Ready" and "Superfly," was about to begin performing at Windgate Field when a gust of wind dislodged an unstable scaffold of overhead stage lights and sent the tower crashing down on him. The scaffold struck Mayfield from behind and broke his neck according to Mayfield's son.

The 48-year-old veteran soul artist was listed in serious but stable condition on Tuesday at Kings County Hospital, suffering from head and neck injuries.

Todd Mayfield, the singer's son, attributed the accident to "gross negligence" on the part of the concert promoters and said the family was in shock.

"It's so tragic. I still can't believe this has happened," Todd Mayfield told The Times in a telephone interview from the soul singer's Atlanta, Ga. home. "We are at a loss for words.

"Right now, he is paralyzed from the neck down, but we're hoping that when the swelling goes down he'll be able to regain some movement in his body."

"As Mayfield was ready to come on stage, an overwhelming wind hit us and blew the speakers off the stage and the lighting trusses down," Marty Markowitz, a state senator who organized the concert, told United Press International.

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