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Cirque du Soleil Aerialist Who Died During Show Shared Heartfelt Message Before Fatal Performance

Char Adams

Just before Cirque du Soleil aerialist Yann Arnaud took to the stage in what would be his final performance this weekend, the married father shared a heartfelt Instagram post about the difficult stunt that would lead to his death.

“After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight,” Arnaud wrote alongside a black and white shot of himself practicing the stunt. “It’s time to go for it.”

During the Saturday performance in Tampa, Florida, Arnaud lost his grip on an aerial ring and plunged some 20 feet to the stage just before 10 p.m., according to the Tampa Bay Times. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died early Sunday. In a statement, Cirque du Soleil officials called the incident a “tragic accident,” and noted that Arnaud had been with the organization for more than 15 years.

Arnaud, who was originally from Champigny-sur-Marne, France, and living in Miami, performed the straps act along with fellow aerialist Pawel Walczewski. Walczewski, too, posted about the difficult number on Instagram, writing, “After a long road ready to perform tonight a straps act with @yannarnophoto.”

Yann Arnaud

Arnaud leaves behind a wife and two young daughters. Along with photos of his performances, Arnaud’s social media accounts are filled with shots of his wife Inna Gorelova, their 2-year-old Lilia and Arnaud’s older daughter. In one shot, Arnaud is shown tossing Lilia into the air; in the post he called her is “little acrobat.”

A September Instagram video shared by Gorelova showed Lilia playing with a plush duck. Arnaud couldn’t help but gush about his daughter in the comment section, writing, “My little princess growing so fast]]>😘💖