Universal Music executive Thomas Ayad among victims in Paris attack

Paris attacks

A mourner leaves candles in front of the Le Carillon restaurant Nov. 14 in Paris, honoring victims of the previous night’s terrorist attacks.

(David Ramos / Getty Images)

A Universal Music Group executive, Thomas Ayad, was among the victims of Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the company has confirmed. 

Ayad, an international product manager for Universal’s Mercury Records label, died in the attack on the Bataclan theater that killed 89 people during a performance by the pop-rock band Eagles of Death Metal.

FULL COVERAGE: Paris Terror Attacks

The apparently coordinated attacks on the French capital killed 129 people. 


Universal Music Group Chairman Lucian Grainge called the loss “an unspeakably appalling tragedy,” in a Saturday note to employees provided to the Los Angeles Times.  

“I cannot even begin to express the depth of my sorrow,” Grainge wrote. “On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we extend our most profound sympathies to his parents and all of his friends and family.”

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Eagles of Death Metal was seven songs into its sold-out concert when gunshots interrupted the performance. The 19th century venue was packed with more than 1,000 fans. The band has now canceled the remaining 20 dates on its European tour, according to promoters. 


Eagles of Death Metal is a Universal Music artist. Universal Music is owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi SA. 

Here is the full text of Grainge’s letter:

Dear Colleagues:

Today, I’m writing to you with a heavy heart.  

We, like so many around the world, are struggling with last night’s horrific tragedy in France.

Paris is in our thoughts and prayers.  We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims as well as our fervent wishes for healing for all of those affected by this senseless violence.

This is especially painful and personal for all of us.  As many of you know, the band Eagles of Death Metal is part of the UMe and Mercury France family.  The band and its crew as well as our own teams from Mercury and other UMG staffs were present at the Bataclan theater for last night’s show.

At this point, we have confirmed that Thomas Ayad, an international product manager for Mercury Records lost his life in the attack on the theater.  This is an unspeakably appalling tragedy.  I cannot even begin to express the depth of my sorrow.  On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we extend our most profound sympathies to his parents and all of his friends and family.


We will update you further as information permits.  In the meantime, please send all healing thoughts and prayers for those affected by this heinous act.

Today is a dark day.  We are a family. Let’s support one another as we grapple with the weight of this darkness.



Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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