A Cirque du Soleil aerialist is dead after falling during a performance in Tampa, Florida, on Saturday, the entertainment company said Sunday.
Yann Arnaud lost his grip on a strap around 10 p.m. during the company’s VOLTA show and fell about a dozen feet onto the stage, reported The Tampa Bay Times. TMZ reported that a video, since deleted, showed Arnaud landed head first.
Arnaud was transported to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries, according to a statement by Cirque du Soleil.
“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy,” Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, said in the statement. “Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him.
Arnaud, a French native, leaves behind a wife and at least two daughters, according to his social media pages. Both Arnaud and fellow VOLTA aerialist Pawel Walczewski had recently shared Instagram posts about their strap act.
“After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight,” Arnaud posted Friday. “It’s time to go for it.”
It’s unclear how long the pair had been practicing the act. A representative for Cirque du Soleil VOLTA did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The Tampa leg of the VOLTA tour, which began Feb. 14, was slated to wrap up on Sunday. But the final two shows were canceled in the wake of the accident.
At least two other Cirque du Soleil performers have died on the job in the last decade. Oleksandr Zhurov fell off a trampoline while training at the company’s headquarters in Montreal in 2009 and died of head injuries. In 2013, Sarah Guillot-Guyard was killed when she fell 90 feet during a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Kà at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.