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Sarah “Sassoon” Guyard-Guillot, who was 31, was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. at University Medical Center, a spokesperson at the Clark County Coroner’s Office tells The Hollywood Reporter.
The spokesperson said the cause of death has not been determined and that the incident occurred at the MGM Grand showroom but said further details were not immediately available.
The Sun reported that the incident — which marks the first reported onstage death in the 30-year history of Cirque Du Soleil — occurred during Ka’s closing “Final Battle” scene. Guyard-Guillot reportedly slipped out of her safety wire and fell at least 50 feet down into an open pit, out of the audience’s line of sight and below the performers.
Audience member Dan Mosqueda told the Sun that the performer “was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down. 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.”
Mosqueda attended the show with his 10-year-old son and wife Annie, who tweeted: “Wire snapped. Performer on far stage left side of stage. He/she fell fast & awkwardly at LEAST 50 feet into pit.”
Moments after the incident, a recorded announcement told the audience that they would be given refunds, and then they were dismissed.
On Sunday, Cirque released a statement saying that Ka performances have been canceled until further notice. The production also said it is working with local authorities “and have offered our full cooperation.”
“I am heartbroken,” Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte told the Sun. “I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news. Sassoon was an artist with the original cast of Ka since 2006 and has been an integral part of our Cirque du Soleil tight family. We are reminded, with great humility and respect, how extraordinary our artists are each and every night. Our focus now is to support each other as a family.”
According to the Sun, Paris-born Guyard-Guillot had spent 22 years as an acrobatic performer and was the mother of two young children.
This marks the second time in a week that a Cirque show was stopped due to an accident. On Wednesday night, a performer in Michael Jackson One suffered a concussion after slipping onstage during one of the show’s final preview performances.
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