A Cirque du Soleil tragically plummeted to his death during a performance in Tampa, Florida on Saturday night.
The Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group has confirmed via statement that aerialist Yann Arnaud – who was taking part in the company’s “VOLTA” show – fell to the stage at one point and received immediate medical attention.
He was then taken to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
“It is with immense sadness that Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group reports that a tragic accident occurred last night, March 17, during a performance of its show Volta, in Tampa, Florida,” Cirque du Soleil Tweeted yesterday.
Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of the entertainment company, added in his own statement:
“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy.
“Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him.
“Over the coming days and weeks, our focus will be on supporting Yann’s family and our employees, especially the Volta team, as we go through these difficult times together.”
According to The Tampa Bay Times, the fatal incident occurred around 10:00 p.m. after Arnaud “lost control of his grip” on the aerial straps, falling “a dozen or so feet to the stage.”
There’s even footage of the fall, but we aren’t going to post it here out of respect.
The final two performances of “VOLTA,” scheduled to take place in Tampa on Sunday, were canceled in the wake of this tragedy.
Talking to Florida’s WFLA, an audience member named Julian Martinez said Arnaud was “visibly straining to hold onto the rope” prior to his passing.
“It was awful, you heard all the cries of the audience,” Martinez said. “There were children there and they were freaking out.”
“It kinds of colors our opinions of what is going on behind the scenes. What is the cost of our entertainment at that point?”
This is not the first tragedy to strike one of Cirque du Soleil’s performers.
Back in June of 2013, 31-year-old acrobat and aerialist Sarah Guillot-Guyard died after a fall during a show at a Las Vegas casino.
Concludes the official company statement:
We are currently gathering more information about this tragic event.
We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident.
May Yann Arnaud rest in peace.