Yann Arnaud, a Cirque du Soleil performer, died Saturday night after falling during an aerial performance in Tampa, Florida.
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."
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.
Other performers paid their respects on social media.
And the flags of Cirque du Soleil's Tampa tent were reportedly hanging at half-staff Sunday.
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.
"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.
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 email@example.com.
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