Cirque du Soleil Acrobat Dies After 50-Foot Fall

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A Cirque du Soleil acrobat died during a Las Vegas show on Saturday night in the company’s first stage death in its 30-year history.

Sarah Guyard-Guillot, 31, fell 50 feet at the end of the show, “Kà,” at the MGM Grand, the Las Vegas Sun reported Sunday. Witness said the fall took place during the final scene of the show, while many artists are suspended in the air from wires.

The mother of two, who was nicknamed Sassoon, was an acrobat with more than 22 years of experience. She was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. on Saturday at University Medical Center.

She "was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down," audience member Dan Mosquedo told The Sun. "Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the choreographed fight. But you could hear screaming, then groaning and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage."

Audience members said the show briefly continued, and then stopped with an artist screams.

"Wire snapped,” Mosqueda's wife, Annie, tweeted. “Performer on far stage left side of stage. He/she fell fast & awkwardly at LEAST 50 feet into pit."

The Sun reported that after the incident, a recorded announcement was played. The audience was told that refunds or vouchers would be provided to ticker-buyers and then the audience was dismissed.

Guyard-Guillot has been a cast member of Kà since the 2006 inaugural run of the show. Upcoming performance of Kà have been canceled until further notice.

Cirque du Soleil said in a release that it was “deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah [Sassoon] Guyard.”

“Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family,” the company wrote.

In a separate statement, the founder of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberte said: “I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news.”

He said the company is cooperating with authorities on the incident.

“We are reminded, with great humility and respect, how extraordinary our artists are each and every night," Laliberte said. "Our focus now is to support each other as a family.”

Sources: NY Daily News, USA Today, Las Vegas Sun