Cirque du Soleil acrobat dies after falling during show

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TAMPA (WFLA) – Authorities say a Cirque du Soleil performer who fell during a performance in Tampa has died.

The horrifying drop happened Saturday night during the company’s production of VOLTA at Under the Big Top, which is located next to the Tampa Bay Greyhound Track on Nebraska Avenue.

The performer was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he later died, a hospital spokeswoman confirms.

Julian Martinez was in the audience when the performer fell. He says he can’t get the incident out of his mind.

“I saw the performer visibly straining to hold onto the rope,” Martinez said. “I saw the two acrobats exchanging glances beforehand and I don’t know if one was trying to see if the other was OK.”

Martinez tells News Channel 8 as soon as the performer fell, he knew it wasn’t good.

“It was awful, you heard all the cries of the audience. There were children there and they were freaking out,” he said.

“Everyone rushed to the stage really quickly, they wanted to see what happened to him,” Martinez added. “After about five minutes, the Cirque officials got on the loudspeaker and told us to leave.”

Cirque du Soleil immediately released a statement Saturday night saying the rest of the show was canceled after the fall.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the company said the rest of its scheduled weekend shows were canceled.

“Yesterday night, March 17, one of the aerial straps artists of VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil fell during his performance on stage in Tampa. The artist was immediately carried out of stage to receive assistance. In order for the VOLTA team to focus on the health of the artist, the rest of the show was canceled. The performances that were planned today have also been canceled. We will stay in contact with the members of the audience who had purchased tickets for the show.”

Cirque du Soleil has not yet released a new statement on the performer’s death.

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