Cirque du Soleil acrobat dies during Las Vegas show
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Cirque Du Soleil cast members perform during the dress rehearsal of Ovo at the Entertainment Quarter on September 12, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) By Ryan Pierse
Artists of the 'Cirque du Soleil' perform the Alegria circus show on November 28, 2012 in Paris. AFP PHOTO BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images) By BERTRAND GUAY
LAS VEGAS -- A Paris-born performer in Cirque du Soleil's "Ka" died after a fall during a show in Las Vegas.
Sarah Guyard-Guillot was pronounced dead late Saturday night at University Medical Center after she fell nearly 50 feet from the show's stage, CBS News affiliate KLAS reported.
Witnesses told the Las Vegas Sun that the accident occurred near the end of the production Saturday night at the MGM Grand.
Visitor Dan Mosqueda of Colorado Springs, Colo., said the 31-year-old acrobatic performer was being hoisted up the side of the stage when it appeared that she slipped free of her safety wire and plummeted to an open pit below the stage.
"Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the (show)," he told the Sun. "But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage."
The show momentarily continued, then stopped. Minutes after the accident, a recorded announcement informed audience members that refunds or vouchers to future shows would be offered, and the crowd was dismissed.
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte issued a statement Sunday praising Guyard-Guillot and saying performances of "Ka" have been canceled until further notice.
Guyard-Guillot, a mother of two children, had been with the original cast of "Ka" since 2006, and had been an acrobatic performer for over 20 years.
"I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devasted with this news," Laliberte said. "Sassoon was an artist with the original cast of K? 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."
Cirque officials are working with authorities investigating the accident and have offered their full cooperation, he added.
The Clark County Coroner's Office will rule on the cause of death.