Green Day have defended their decision to play at Madrid's Mad Cool Festival shortly after at acrobat died at the event.

Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong

The American rock band - which is led by vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong - have been criticised on social media for pressing on with their performance despite the passing of acrobat Pedro Aunion Monroy, who plunged 100 feet as he attempted a between-sets stunt.

In a statement on the band's website, Billie Joe said: "Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident.

"Green Day did not hear about the accident until after our show was over. We didn't even know there was an acrobat performance at all."

The tragic incident was witnessed by thousands of event-goers in the Spanish capital, but the accident only caused a brief delay before the band took to the stage.

As a result, the rockers have been accused of showing a lack of sensitivity.

But Billie Joe explained: "These festivals are huge. There are so many things happening at the same time it's impossible to keep up with every performer/artist. We were in a back stage compound about a half-mile away from the main festival stage.

"We were warming up ready to go at 11:25 pm. 15 minutes prior our tour management was told by local authorities to wait to go on stage because there was some sort of security issue. Security issues are a normal occurrence and procedure at any show. We were NOT told why which is also normal. (sic)"

He said, too, that despite the acrobat's death, everything appeared normal from the stage.

Billie Joe wrote: "Everything seemed normal. The crowd and fans had a good time."