Veteran Cirque du Soleil performer dies after falling during Tampa show

Cirque du Soleil performers at the 2012 Academy Awards.
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A Cirque du Soleil aerialist died Saturday after he fell 20 feet during a performance of the show Volta in Tampa, the company announced Sunday.

Yann Arnaud, 38, of France later died at the hospital. A husband and father of two, Arnaud had been performing with Cirque du Soleil for 15 years and was one of the most experienced members. Daniel Lamarre, president and chief executive of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, told Reuters he was "very surprised" by Arnaud's death, and he couldn't describe how badly everyone at Cirque du Soleil felt. "It's terrible," he said.

Authorities said Arnaud was performing an aerial strap act on the double rings, and he fell after one of his hands slipped. In the 34-year history of the company, this is the third death of a Cirque performer. The incident is now under investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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