An experienced aerialist has died in hospital after sustaining injuries during a Cirque du Soleil performance in Tampa, Florida, the Canadian circus company has confirmed to the press.
Yann Arnaud, who had performed with Cirque du Soleil for more than 15 years, fell from his aerial straps to the ground in front of a live audience during the “VOLTA” show. An Instagram caption posted two days ago by the veteran aerialist indicates that the straps routine had only recently been incorporated into the show:
“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,” Arnaud wrote to followers on Friday.
The final two Florida performances of VOLTA have been cancelled, with Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre indicating that the company was collaborating transparently with authorities “as they look into the circumstances of the incident”.
Arnaud was “loved by all those who had the chance to know him,” Cirque du Soleil said in a statement issued via social media. “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.”
This is the second death of a Cirque du Soleil entertainer to occur during a public performance. In 2009, French acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot was killed after falling 27 metres to the ground during a performance in Las Vegas.