An award winning Matador has died after being gored by a bull in Spain. Segovia bullfighter, Victor Barrio, 29, was pierced in his chest during a live TV show Saturday, first matador to die in Spain since the turn of the century.
The horrifying incident occurred at about 1 a.m. Saturday during one of the late-night festivities. The fight took place in the eastern town of Teruel, and the festival was suspended as a result of the tragedy.
His wife, Raquel Sanz, was among the hundreds of spectators who witnessed the tragedy as bystanders immediately rushed to help him out. He was rushed to the hospital unconscious, but the doctors couldn’t save his life. He was pronounced dead about an hour later. The very day, near Valencia, a 28-year-old man died during a bull run.
Television footage shows the bull snagged him on the right-hand side of his chest and violently rammed him to the ground. On July 4, he tweeted a picture of himself in training, writing: “With the mindset on Teruel.”
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy paid his condolence on his Twitter feed. The team poured their grief on the official feed of the Las Ventas bullring in Madrid, where Barrio began as a novice, saying that he was “distressed and very moved” by Barrio death.
Records show that 134 people, including 33 matadors, had been killed by bulls in the past century in Spain. Leading matador Francisco Rivera Ordonez was badly wounded in a similar bullfight last year.
The bull named Lorenzo caught the showman off guard after a breeze affected his waving of the crutch. Victor went into cardiac arrest in the hospital and died of fatal goring with a perforation of the thoracic aorta and the lungs.
As a part of the tradition, the rancher will send the mother cow to the slaughterhouse, ending the lineage of Lorenzo.
Although 2,000 bullfights are held each year in Spain, the number of deaths recorded is just 10. The last matador to die were Francisco Rivera Paquirri and Jose Cubero Ylyo in 1984 and 1985 respectively.
Barrio was a trained professional and named the winner of San Isidro by a senior club in Madrid. At the age of 20, after working on a golf course for a couple of years, he decided to become a bullfighter.
He once said, “I had always felt great admiration for bullfighters and the festival, but I was ashamed to say I wanted to be a bullfighter and a hero, as I saw them.”
Nearly every matador survives during shows, but, the bull dies almost every time. Only after exceptional performances, the bull’s life is spared.
Stats show that the number of bullfights is falling during the past year. Animal rights group, such as PETA, describe the fights as barbaric and as an inhuman ordeal. But, the fans, including Rajoy, believe the tradition is an ancient art of their nation’s history.
In 2010, Catalonia joined Canary island to become the second Spanish region to ban the tradition.
International animal rights protesters have been demonstrating for the abolition of bull runs and bullfighting.
During a similar event, at the San Fermin bull-running festival, a bull gored a 33-year-old Japanese man in his chest and a Spanish man on his arm. The regional government said another 12 people were injured.
Similarly, a man was gored in the throat and abdomen and was killed during the other incident on Saturday, held in Pedreguer. Spanish media said he was trying to help another runner.
Fans from all over the world are deeply saddened by Barrio’s untimely demise and paid condolences to his family and friends on Twitter.
[Photo By Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP photos]