The Sydney Opera House was forced to cancel a sell-out show on Saturday after one of the world's most renowned hypnotists fell to his death from an 11th floor unit in Pyrmont.
Dr Scott Lewis, known as the Hypnotist, was in Sydney for a show entitled The Illusionists 2.0, which opened at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday. But two days into the Vegas-style spectacular, tragedy struck when the master performer failed to board the morning shuttle bus that was to transport him and his onstage colleagues to the venue.
His body was found about 9.40am on Saturday on a fourth floor balcony at the Goldsbrough Mort building in Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont.
He was dead when ambulance crews and police arrived. Investigations continued throughout the day. Several people staying in the building reported hearing a woman scream as she saw an object fall.
At 2pm on Saturday, the Opera House would only confirm that the Saturday matinee performance had been cancelled due to "unforseen circumstances".
Later it released a statement confirming the news, while hailing Lewis as a wonderful performer who would be "greatly missed".
It also declared the 7pm show would go on, "dedicating the performance to Dr Lewis tonight".
The audience were not told of Lewis' death until the end of the show when the six remaining cast members were taking their bows.It was then that one of them said: "Today is a very sad day for us. We lost a performer." He asked the audience to indulge the group in one last act, a tribute to Lewis.
An audience member said the performers gave a heartfelt eulogy for their friend but they did not disclose any details of his death.
The Manipulator broke down as he performed a trick with cards printed with Lewis' photo.
Raed Dabit, who came especially to see Lewis, said all six cast members were crying as the audience gave them a standing ovation.
"I'm very saddened by the events," Mr Dabit said.
"They dealt with it in a very positive way," his brother Nader Dabit said. "No one knew anything was missing until the end. I was shocked that they were able to do a show seeing as they had just lost their colleague and friend. That takes a lot of courage."
"The company is deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Dr Lewis," said Tim Lawson, co producer of the show.
The Opera House brought The Illusionists back to Sydney for a sequel after their smash run in 2011 became one of the venue's biggest selling shows. The event featured seven internationally acclaimed and award-winning illusionists who are all specialists in their chosen fields.
Police said they did not believe the circumstances which led to Mr Lewis' death were suspicious. But they confirmed they were continuing to interview witnesses about a number of possible scenarios, including whether he had been climbing on the outside of the balcony when he fell.
"Those lines of inquiry are certainly part of our investigation," said Detective Inspector Simon Jones.Detective Inspector Jones foreshadowed an investigation that could drag on another day.
"We're not discounting any possibility at this stage," he said. "There's probably only one person who's no longer here who can tell us the story."
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