The Cirque du Soleil troupe at Disney Springs is mourning the unexpected death of the famed writer and director of La Nouba, the Cirque show that debuted in 1998 and enjoyed a 19-year run at Disney World’s premiere shopping, dining, and entertainment district.
This week Cirque du Soleil is mourning the death of Dragone, the Italian-born Belgian theater director who founded and served as artistic director at Dragone, a company that works to create large-scale theater shows. He was well known for his work with Cirque du Soleil and with best-selling recording artist Celine Dion.
Dragone CEO Francois Girard said, “This was a devastating surprise to all of us. We will look to the future with the strength of the past, on the path paved by an extraordinary man, the legend we have lost.”
Franco Dragone died of a heart attack while on a business venture in Cairo, Egypt, on September 30. He was 69. He was also away for some vacation time. Though he was known as a heavy smoker, Dragone was in “relatively good health” after having recovered from leukemia in 2021.
Franco Dragone, 1952 – 2022. pic.twitter.com/VVhSv3rDdA
— Dragone (@DragoneOfficial) September 30, 2022
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Franco Dragone,” the Cirque du Soleil company said in a statement after Dragone’s unexpected death. “Our hearts go out to his friends, family, and the entire Dragone organization.”
His impact and influence on Cirque du Soleil were notable.
“Franco was an industry icon,” the company’s statement said. “Responsible for some of our most successful productions, including ‘Nouvelle Expérience,’ ‘Alegría,’ ‘Mystère,’ ‘O’, and ‘La Nouba,’ he has contributed invaluably to the success of Cirque du Soleil. His passing is a loss not only for his family but for the entire industry.”