Sarah Guyard-Guillot, an artist in “Ka” at the MGM Grand and a mother of two young children, fell to her death during the MGM show on Saturday night. The Clark County Coroner’s Office said on Sunday afternoon that the performer, Guyard-Guillot, was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. Saturday at the University Medical Center.
The formal cause of death will be decided until further examination of 31 year-old Guyard-Guillot’s body. The artist was born in Paris and had spent over 22 years working as an acrobatic performer.
Her death, is the first “reported” death from an onstage accident out of the Cirque du Soleil’s 30 year history.
Audience members reported that the accident happened Saturday night toward the end of the stage show at the MGM Grand. Guyard-Guillot was suspended by a wire from the show’s vertical stage in the show’s closing “Final Battle” scene.
As she rose to the top of the stage, she apparently slipped free of her safety wire and dropped to an unseen area below the performers. After Guyard-Guillot fell, an eyewitness who was in the middle of the audience said the the performer dropped over a distance of more that 50 feet. The show continued for a few moments, but the music soon stopped and the injured artist could be heard screaming and groaning out of sight of the audience.
According to a source, Sarah Guyard-Guillot died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
A Colorado Springs, Colorado resident, Dan Mosqueda said, “(The artist) was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down.” Mosqueda who is visiting with his wife and 10-year-old son went on to say, “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 Cirque du Soleil performer falling to her death during the MGM show right after it occurred.
Moments after Guyard-Guillot fell, a pre-recorded announcement came over the public address system telling audience members that, refunds or vouchers to future shows would be offered to those in the audience, and the crowd was let out.
A statement from Cirque was released on Sunday, “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.”
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte said, “I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news. Sassoon (Guyard-Guillot) 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.”
“We have been working with the appropriate authorities and have offered our full cooperation. Performances of ‘Ka’ will be canceled until further notice,” Laliberte continued.
It was the second time in less than a week that a Cirque du Soleil show on the Strip has been halted after one of their performers was injured. On Wednesday night, an artist in one of the final preview performances of Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay suffered a mild concussion after slipping through the slack rope in the show’s Stranger in Moscow scene. The performer missed the protective pad below and landed hard on the stage. That performer is expected to return to the show.
Guy Laliberte finished by saying, “The show has been canceled indefinitely, and the company is “working with the appropriate authorities and have offered our full cooperation.”
The death of a Cirque du Soleil performer who fell from a great height during the MGM Grand show, stunned audience members and the Cirque as well. No other details about the artist is available at this time.
By Michael Smith