Sarah Guyard-Guillot, an Cirque du Soliel aerial acrobat, died on Saturday during a performance after falling roughly 50 feet through the air. The death of the 31-year-old mother of two is the first during the show’s 30-year run.

Paris-born Guyard-Guillot was performing in Cirque Du Soliel’s Ka show at the MGM Grand, which she had been a cast member in since 2006. During the show’s final battle scene, Guyard Guillot "was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down," audience member Dan Mosqueda told the Las Vegas 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."

Cirque du Soliel was founded in 1984 by former street perfomers, Guy Laliberte and Gilles Ste-Croix, who’ve boasted of their company’s safety record in the past. Following Guyard-Guillot’s death, Laiberte said in a statement, “I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated," Laliberte said. "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." He also announced that Ka performances were canceled until further notice.

The MGM Grand also released a statement to address the tragic incident. "Our company is deeply saddened by the loss of one of the talented Ka artists Saturday night," it read. "The thoughts and prayers of our employees are with the performer's family, the cast of KA, and the entire Cirque family during this difficult time." Ka has been running at the MGM Grand since 2004.


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Modern circus company Cirque du Soliel currently has 19 running shows in 271 cities, employing roughly 5,000, including nearly 1,300 artists.

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