Mar 19, 2018, 3:11 AM ET

Cirque du Soleil performer Yann Arnaud dies after fall


A Cirque du Soleil performer has died after he fell onto the stage during a performance in Florida, the company announced Sunday.

"It is with immense sadness that Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group reports that a tragic accident occurred last night, March 17, during a performance of its show 'Volta,' in Tampa, Florida," the statement posted to its social media accounts began. "While he was performing the aerial straps number, long-time aerialist, Yann Arnaud, fell onto the stage."

Arnaud, 38, had his hand slip from a ring and he fell about 20 feet, according to Tampa police.

The statement explained that after "Yann was transported to the nearest hospital ... he later passed away from his injuries."

PHOTO: Yann Arnaud and GoelOuisse perform at the Cirque Du Soleils Totem dress rehearsal at Citi Field, March 13, 2013 in New York City.John Lamparski/Getty Images, FILE
Yann Arnaud and GoelOuisse perform at the "Cirque Du Soleil's Totem" dress rehearsal at Citi Field, March 13, 2013 in New York City.

Cirque du Soleil describes its newest show, "Volta," as "adventurous," according to its website. It "weaves acrobatics" and "action sports" into a "melodic score."

"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy," a statement from Cirque's president and CEO Daniel Lamarre read. "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."

The company said in a statement that it is "currently gathering more information about this tragic event" and "offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident."

Doctors are seen tending to Yann Arnaud after he fell to the stage during Cirque du Soleils performance of Volta on March 17, 2018.Painel Tube
Doctors are seen tending to Yann Arnaud after he fell to the stage during Cirque du Soleil's performance of "Volta" on March 17, 2018.

Subsequently, Cirque du Soleil canceled two shows Sunday in Tampa.

This isn't the first time a cast member of Cirque du Soleil has died while on tour.

In 2016, technician Olivier Rochette, who was also the co-founder's son, was preparing the set for a performance of "Luzia" in San Francisco when he was struck by a lift and later died.

News - Cirque du Soleil performer Yann Arnaud dies after fall

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  • QuestionAuth

    Folks, stay safe. - Stay out of Florida.

  • Juggles

    Yikes! I am sad for the performer and his loved ones as well as those who had to watch the accident unfold. I am sure there were children there who will not soon forget it. I hope he did not suffer long and I hope that he truly did love what he was doing...

  • justamom

    My heart breaks for this performer and his family. A sad loss.

  • Karen

    So very sad. They are wonderful artists and their shows are amazing. While nets are sometimes used, apparently not in this show or during this performance. Frankly, I don't believe nets detract from the performance and if it saves just one life, it's well worth it.

    Cirque should consider using nets at all times for these performances.

  • anonymous

    I believe what is more dangerous are newbie aerialists who do not possess the quality of training that Cirque performers have. There are aerialists out there who have been rejected by Cirque du Soleil and yet feel that they can put on a show without any safety measures put in place, for example, safety mats, because they feel that they are risking their lives to perform for the public. It really shouldn't be a matter if they can do it then so can I. Really, what message is that sending?

  • Jon

    I've always had such tremendous respect for these performers. They really do risk their lives every day for the shear entertainment of the audience. RIP.

  • gs12

    Very sad. Condolences to his family.

  • TexasVulcan

    Very sad. I've seen several shows in Vegas including "O" at the Bellagio. These people are highly trained but I guess accidents do happen. Very sad for the friends and family.

  • E Sverdrup

    These types of performances are always amazing and require such skill. It’s a shame accidents happen. We will keep you and your family and friends in our thoughts and prayers tonight.

  • GorillaMyDreams

    "Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fatal fall"

    I hate to be snide at a time like this, but as far as I know, most people die after fatal falls.

  • unitedsucks

    After OSHA investigates, I would think they'll be required to start wearing safety harnesses

  • j penske

    Safety nets should be required for any event anywhere where there is that kind of risk. A net would have saved his life.

  • milolewis

    A lot of tragic deaths in the last week ... I'm sure this young man knew the dangers of his job .. My heart goes out to his family and friends ... and to the families and friends of the people who died in Florida on the walk way that fell .. We just don't know when our last day is going to be .. Make each day count .. Life is truly precious ... May they all RIP .

  • Bree Zee

    My condolences are with his family and friends.

  • ReviewTheFacts

    Condolences to his family, friends, and co-workers.
    His was a dangerous job, and regardless of how many years in the business, there is absolutely no margin for error. Equipment, timing, the human element, all must work perfectly together in order to perform. That's the attraction of the performance. That's also the risk.

  • Pangaea 47

    Yann Arnaud leaves a nine year old daughter. I never met him in person but I talked to him from time to time on FB on Cirque fan websites. Besides being a great artist he was a uniformly nice person.
    You will be missed RIP

  • All that Jazz

    Not to make light of the tragedy, but ABC, the headline is redundant.

  • GeneGrossman

    I didn't see any details about safety precautions in place during that terrible tragedy, but if the company that produced that show allowed any dangerous performance like that to be conducted without proper safety precautions, they should be held liable - no matter how much a performer may have preferred to work without the safety precautions in place.

    Demands of entertainment stars should never be allowed to over-rule proper safety precautions.


  • Skeptic Spartan

    second time it happened in recent times, maybe install an air bag or net, Cirque.

  • rontron

    The risk of a fall increases when you have been doing it for so many times over 15 yrs. RIP.