Cirque du Soleil 'in Shock' After Performer's Fatal Fall

Yann Arnaud fell to his death while performing an aerial straps number Saturday in Tampa
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2018 4:45 PM CDT
Veteran Cirque du Soleil Performer Killed in Fall
Yann Arnaud, a Cirque du Soleil performer for more than 15 years, fell to his death during a performance in Tampa on Saturday.   (Instagram)

A Cirque du Soleil performer died after his hand slipped off the double rings and he fell 20 feet during a performance in Florida, police and the entertainment company said Sunday. The theatrical company announced on Twitter that Yann Arnaud fell while performing an aerial straps number Saturday night during the show VOLTA in Tampa, per the AP. Tampa police said they were investigating the death of Arnaud, 38, though they said in a release that it appears to be accidental. Arnaud died at a hospital early Sunday. He had been a Cirque du Soleil performer for more than 15 years. A Frenchman, Arnaud reportedly hailed originally from Champigny-sur-Marne but lived in Miami at the time of his death. An autopsy will be performed Monday.

"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy," the entertainment group's President Daniel Lamarre said in a statement. "We are currently gathering more information about this tragic event. We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident." In addition to local authorities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reportedly has launched an investigation. Witnesses in the audience described being "traumatized" by the incident, according to WFLA. Audience members who purchased through Cirque du Soleil were refunded their ticket cost. (More Cirque du Soleil stories.)

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