Cirque du Soleil Aerialist Dies After Falling During Performance in Tampa

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Acrobats rehearse Cirque Du Soleil's 'OVO' show at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on July 5, 2017 in New York City.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

A Cirque du Soleil aerialist performer died Saturday after falling during a performance in Tampa.

Yann Arnaud, a 15-year veteran of the surrealist circus, fell during a showing of VOLTA, during a performance in which he sailed through the air clinging to heavy straps, according to a statement from the Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. They said he was rushed to a local hospital, where he later died.

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

Arnaud's Instagram is filled with pictures of fellow Cirque du Soleil performers and his wife and young daughter. On Saturday, just hours before he was set to perform, he wrote that he was eager to finally get to perform a new straps routine.

"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," he wrote on Instagram, tagging his partner in the performance.

Cirque du Soleil canceled its Sunday Tampa performances. It's unclear whether VOLTA will continue beyond Tampa.

"We are currently gathering more information about this tragic event," Cirque du Soleil said in a statement. "We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident."

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