The Saturday night tragedy that cost 31-year-old Cirque du Soleil acrobatic and aerialist specialist Sarah Guyard-Guillot her life continues to send shockwaves throughout Las Vegas.
The Paris-born mother of two children ages 8 and 5, Guyard-Guillot, 31, reportedly graduated from the Fratellini Circus Academy in Saint Denis, and was a 22-year performance veteran. She had appeared in the Cirque production Ka since its opening at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel & Casino nine years ago.
As she had done countless times before during the show’s finale, Guyard-Guillot was suspended about 50 feet in the air above the stage. That was the position from which she fell to her death Saturday night.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office pronounced her dead at 11:43 p.m. Saturday at University Medical Center.
Her body is being further examined to determine the exact cause of death, according to Las Vegas Sun editor-at-large John Katsilometes, who has been carefully following the incident.
Guyard-Guillot’s death is said to be the first from an onstage accident in the performing troupe’s three-decade history.
As described by Katsilometes, who spoke to audience members witnessing the fall, Guyard-Guillot rose to the top of the stage and slipped out of her safety wire, dropping into the concealed pit below the other performers.
Guyard-Guillot, whose nickname was Sassoon, was reportedly still in her cable-secured stage-positioning harness when the accident occurred. After some time, the show music stopped, and performers started screaming.
Guyard-Guillot “was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,” audience member Dan Mosqueda, from Colorado Springs, told the Sun. “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.”
Soon after, it was announced in the theater that ticket refunds were being offered and the auditorium was cleared.
Performances of Ka have been suspended until further notice.