A Cirque du Soleil performer plunged to his death during a Florida show — hours after he wrote ‘it’s time to go for it’ on Instagram about the new act

Cirque du Soleil performer Yann Arnaud died after falling during an aerial routine he performed on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

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Cirque du Soleil performer Yann Arnaud died after falling during an aerial routine he performed on Saturday, March 17, 2018.
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YouTube/WFLA News Channel 8

  • Cirque du Soleil performer Yann Arnaud died after falling during a show in Florida on Saturday.
  • Arnaud was an experienced performer and had been with Cirque for 15 years.
  • He posted on Instagram about the new aerial straps routine before the show, saying “it’s time to go for it.”

An experienced Cirque du Soleil performer has died after plunging onto a stage during an aerial straps routine at a weekend show in Tampa, Florida, the company said on Sunday.

The incident occurred on Saturday night when Yann Arnaud fell during a performance of the show VOLTA, according to Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. The 38-year-old performance artist died of his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Arnaud had performed in Cirque shows for 15 years and was considered one of the company’s most experienced entertainers, president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in a phone interview.

“We were very surprised, considering his experience, that something like that happened,” said Lamarre, speaking from Tampa, where he had flown to be with the show’s cast. “I cannot describe to you how the people feel. It’s terrible.”

Arnaud posted a photo on Instagram just before the show on Saturday with the caption, “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.”

The death is the third fatality involving a Cirque performer in the company’s 34 years, said Lamarre, adding that the aerial strap act is seen as a relatively safe number.

Lamarre said he could not share further details about the incident involving Arnaud, a husband and father with two young children who was from France. The company said it was cooperating with authorities looking into what happened.

Local media reports said Arnaud appeared to lose his grip on a strap before he fell, bringing the show to an immediate halt. Tampa police said the incident is under investigation by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Detroit; Editing by Daniel Wallis)