TAMPA, FLA. (CelebrityAccess) Cirque du Soleil star Yann Arnaud, performing at the show “Volta” in Tampa, Fla., March 17, fell about 20 feet while onstage and died from his injuries.
Arnaud, 38, from France, died at Tampa General Hospital, according to Cirque du Soleil. The fall made national news Sunday morning but his condition was not released. Arnaud had been performing in Cirque shows for approximately 15 years.
“We were very surprised, considering his experience, that something like that happened,” Cirque CEO Daniel Lamarre told Reuters in a phone interview. “I cannot describe to you how the people feel. It’s terrible.”
Police said Arnaud was performing on the double rings when one of his hands slipped and fell, according to Reuters.
Audience member Julian Martinez told local news affiliate WFLA that the event was traumatizing.
“I saw the performer visibly straining to hold onto the rope,” Martinez said. “I saw the two acrobats exchanging glances beforehand and I don’t know if one was trying to see if the other was OK.”
Martinez added that as soon as the performer fell, he knew it wasn’t good.
“It was awful, you heard all the cries of the audience. There were children there and they were freaking out,” he said.
Hours before the performance, Arnaud posted on Instagram that he and his partner were debuting a new act.
“After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight,” he said.
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 @pawel_walczewski . #volta #cirquedusoleil #strapsduo #aerial #aerialarts #aerialacrobatics #florida #tampa #acrobatics #gymnastics #duo #hallofequals #cirfit #cirfit_lifestyle #cirfit_usa #cirfitapparel #cirfitworld #teamcirfit Thanks @andregymbrasil for the picture.
Medical staff tried to get to Arnaud as quickly as possible but said it was too late; Martinez said he noticed the performer was struggling to hold onto his strap.
“I wish someone would have noticed it and stepped in. It kind of colors our opinion of what is going on behind the scenes. What is the cost of our entertainment at that point?” Martinez asked.
Tragedy at the #volta #CirqueDuSoleil show in #Tampa #Florida. Aerialist Yann Arnaud fell to his death in the middle of a new routine. Before the show, he posted on #Instagram “It’s time to go for it.” Prayers for everyone dealing w/this heartbreak. @10NewsWTSP pic.twitter.com/ATgP8NYnV9
— Sarah Rosario (@sarahbrosario) March 18, 2018
This is the third death involving a performer in Cirque’s 34-year history.
The last two Tampa performances for “Volta” in Tampa, scheduled for tonight, have been canceled.
— Liz Crawford (@LizCrawfordWTSP) March 18, 2018