A Paris-born performer in Cirque du Soleil's "Ka" died after a fall during a show in Las Vegas.
Sarah Guyard-Guillot, a 31-year-old mother of two, was pronounced dead late Saturday night at a hospital after falling about 50 feet from the show's stage, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
In this Nov. 28, 2008, photo, Sarah Guyard-Guillot, left, and Sami Tiaumassi perform as "Forest People" during Cirque du Soleil's "Ka" at MGM Grand Resort in Las Vegas. Guyard-Guillot, a mother of two young children, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Saturday night, June 29, 2013, after falling about 50 feet from the show's stage during a performance of Cirque du Soleil's "Ka." (Credit: AP)
Witnesses told the that the accident occurred near the end of the production Saturday night at the MGM Grand when she reportedly slipped free of her safety wire and plummeted to an open pit.
Cirque officials issued a statement saying they were "deeply saddened" by the death and that performances of "Ka" have been canceled until further notice.
It is the first reported death from an accident onstage in Cirque's 30-year history, the Sun reported.
More from the Las Vegas Sun:
Guyard-Guillot was one of the artists suspended by a wire from the show’s vertical stage in the show-closing Final Battle scene. As she ascended to the top of the stage, she slipped free of her safety wire and dropped to the open, unseen pit below the performers.
After the incident, one eyewitness seated in the middle of the audience and just a few rows from the lip of the stage said Guyard-Guillot dropped from the left side of the set (or on the right side, as audience members face the production) over a distance of at least 50 feet. The show momentarily continued, but then the music halted, and the performer’s screams and groans could be heard from below the stage. One source close to the production said she died on the way to a hospital.
“(The artist) was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,” said Dan Mosqueda, visiting with his wife and 10-year-old son from Colorado Springs, Colo. “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’s wife, Annie, has a background in theater and tweeted about the incident soon after it occurred. [...]
Cirque released a statement this early afternoon: “The entire Cirque du Soleil family is deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah (Sassoon) Guyard, artist on the production 'Ka,' that happened on Saturday, June 29, in Las Vegas. The artist's immediate family has been informed of the accident. Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family.”
“I am heartbroken. 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,” said Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.