French acrobatic performer Sarah Guyard-Guillot was performing at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas when the tragic accident occurred. Her death is believed to be the first in 30 years that has occurred during a live performance, as reported by the BBC.

Cirque du Soleil
A Cirque Du Soleil Acrobat Has Died After A Stage Fall.

In a horrifying witness account, Dan Mosqueda speaking to the Las Vegas Sun described his experience as an audience member, saying that Ms. Guyard-Guillot was being hoisted when it seemed she slipped out of her safety wire, plummeting into "an open pit": "Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the [show]," he said. "But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage." The show continued for a few moments until the nightmarish truth set in: the show quickly stopped and a recorded voice dismissed audience members, informing them they were entitled to a refund even though the incident occurred in the final acts of the Kà show. The injured performer was rushed to Las Vegas' University Medical Center where she pronounced dead at 11.43pm.

Cirque du Soleil
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Entertain Audiences With Incredible Acrobatic Stunts.

Ms. Guyard-Guillot was an experienced performer, having worked as an acrobat for twenty years, joined the Cirque du Soleil cast in 2006. Cirque du Soleil's founder Guy Laliberte expressed his heartache for the passing of the talented performer and mother-of-two: "I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated. 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."

Cirque du Soleil
Being A Perfomer For Cirque Du Soleil Regularly Involves Death-Defying Stunts. 

Described as a "spectacular tale that defies the laws of gravity," Cirque du Soleil's latest show, Kà, is a "heroic journey of love and conflict" from a company that aims to ramp up the drama of each new season's spectacle, having delighted over a million audience members since it was founded. Acrobats, gymnasts and performers work to deliver astounding and flawless performances with death-defying stunts, yet Sasoun (Guyard-Guillot's stage name) is the first live death in the company's history. Former fellow performer, Jason Nious, posted a glowing tribute on Facebook: "your life was an inspiration. You came, you showed, you proved and you passed it down to the next generation." 

All performances of the current Kà show have been cancelled and audience members have been offered refunds.