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A Cirque Du Soleil Performer Died After Falling Suddenly In A Show

Yann Arnaud, a veteran performer, died after a fall during an aerial performance Saturday.

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Yann Arnaud, a Cirque du Soleil performer, died Saturday night after falling during an aerial performance in Tampa, Florida.

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Arnaud, a veteran performer from France, was performing an aerial straps number in Volta, one of the company's shows, in front of a live audience when he plummeted to the stage, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group said in a statement.

He fell about 12 feet onto the stage below after losing his grip, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He received medical attention and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy," said Cirque du Soleil President and CEO Daniel Lamarre in a statement. "Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him."

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Cirque du Soleil is still "gathering information" about the tragic accident and has canceled its last two shows of Volta in Tampa.

"We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident," the company said in its statement.

Members of the audience described the fall as sudden and shocking. Ben Ritter, 76, told the Tampa Bay Times that as soon as Arnaud hit the stage, the performer was "out cold and not moving."

People shared footage from his last performance.

Yann Arnaud last performance #CirqueduSoleil in #Volta at #Tampa #Florida last night 😢

Other performers paid their respects on social media.

Saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Yann last night. My heart goes out to the performers of @cirquedusoleil #Volta during this tough time!! Glad I got to see you perform one last time my friend!!! #offonthego #cirquedusoleil https://t.co/zCApDKHtIJ https://t.co/C6XCPrF8u9

And the flags of Cirque du Soleil's Tampa tent were reportedly hanging at half-staff Sunday.

Flag at half staff at @Cirque honoring a longtime aerialist who died after falling onto the stage during last night's #VOLTA show in Tampa. Today's shows are cancelled. https://t.co/uUUfDOj4Md

A seasoned aerialist from Champigny-sur-Marne, France, Arnaud often posted photos and videos of his travels and ring acts on his Instagram account. He is survived by a wife and two daughters.

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"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 last post read.

Instagram: @yannarnophoto

Cirque du Soleil has had several high-profile accidents involving performers in recent years. In August 2017, the company suspended its show in Quebec after a parkour specialist fell and injured his head and back.

Three Cirque du Soleil employees were injured, one of them fatally, in work-place related accidents in 2016, including Olivier Rochette, the son of one of the show's founders, who died after being hit by a telescopic lift.

In 2013, performer Sarah Guillot-Guyard died after she fell during a live show in Las Vegas.

Brianna Sacks is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Brianna Sacks at brianna.sacks@buzzfeed.com.

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