An experienced performer with Cirque du Soleil who was performing a routine for the first time onstage was killed Saturday when he fell in front of a live audience in Tampa, Fla.
“The company identified the cast member as Yann Arnaud, a Frenchman who had worked with Cirque du Soleil for 15 years,” The Washington Post reports. “He died at a Florida hospital — just a few hours after posting on Instagram about finally attempting the new, high-flying routine.”
Arnaud, 38, had written on Instagram Saturday: “After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight. It’s time to go for it.”
“His horrifying mid-performance fall brought an abrupt end to the show, ‘Volta,’ which was staged under a big-top tent in Tampa,” The Post reports. “Audience members were at first told that the show would be briefly interrupted, then they learned that it was canceled.”
Subsequent shows have also been canceled. Arnaud’s death was reportedly the second onstage death in Cirque du Soleil’s history.
Daniel Lamarre, president and chief executive of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, released a statement saying: “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.”
The company was reportedly cooperating with authorities investigating the incident.