Sarah “Sassoon” Guyard-Guillot, a performer in the Cirque du Soleil show Ka in Las Vegas, died on June 29 after falling from the show’s stage at the MGM Grand showroom, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Guyard-Guillot, the mother of two young children, suffered a 50-foot fall during the performance when she slipped out of her safety wire and landed in a pit below the stage. It is the first reported death resulting from an onstage accident in the history of Cirque du Soleil.
“I am heartbroken,” Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte told the Las Vegas Sun. “I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news. Sassoon 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.”
“[Guyard-Guillot] was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,” audience member Dan Mosqueda 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.” Guyard-Guillot was later pronounced dead that night at University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Born in Paris, 31-year-old Guyard-Guillot was an acrobatic performer for more than 22 years. After graduating from Annie Fratellini Art and Circus Academy, Guyard-Guillot served as an acrobatic and aerial specialist for the Cirquefit acrobatics school in Las Vegas. She has been a member of the Ka cast since the production opened at the MGM Grand.