Canadian circus company Cirque du Soleil features some of the world's most daring and experienced acrobats, but accidents still happen. On March 17, Cirque du Soleil aerialist Yann Arnaud died after falling during a performance of Volta in Tampa, FL, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.
"While he was performing the aerial straps number, long-time aerialist Yann Arnaud fell onto the stage," a statement from the company reads. "Emergency procedures were immediately activated and Yann was transported to the nearest hospital, where he later passed away from his injuries."
Yann had been performing with Cirque for 15 years, and he had taken his family along for the ride. The 38-year-old was married to Inna Gorelova and had welcomed a daughter with her, his second child. Inna's Instagram check-ins match Volta's tour schedule; and earlier this month, during the show's residency in Tampa, Yann and Inna took a family trip to Walt Disney World in nearby Orlando. "Love is an adventure," she wrote on Instagram in her latest upload, a March 7 pic Yann had taken of her and their two-year-old in front of Cinderella's Castle.
Local news outlets report Yann lost his grip on a strap and fell during the performance. The show was halted as medical professionals rushed to the stage. Now the incident is under investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy," Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group President and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in the statement. "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."
Reuters reports Lamarre flew to Tampa to be with the show's cast. "We were very surprised, considering his experience, that something like that happened," he told the news service. "I cannot describe to you how the people feel. It's terrible."