TERUEL, SPAIN – Victor Barrio, 29, an award-winning bullfighter, was gored to death Saturday by a bull in front of hundreds of spectators in eastern Spain. He is the first matador to die in the ring this century.
The wife of a top bullfighter looked on in horror as her husband was gored to death during a festival in eastern Span.
Victor Barrio, 29, from Segovia was fighting in Teruel, Aragon in eastern Spain when the bull speared him through the chest.
His wife, Raquel Sanz, 32, was in the crowd, having organised a group of supporters from their home town to attend the event.
Ms Sanz, who married Barrio in 2014, was said to be ‘devastated’ as she saw her husband lying motionless on the ground, according to El Espanol.
The matador was taken to hospital unconscious but doctors could not do ‘anything’ to resuscitate him and save his life.
He rolled to the ground in a painful somersault after the 87 stone beast caught him while he tried to deflect it with ‘muletazo’ manoeuvre, reports La Razon.es.
An initial medical report conducted by Dr Ana Cristina Martinez Utrillas confirmed Barrio suffered devastating injuries as a result of the bull attack.
The report said Barrio was gored in the right chest and was in cardiac arrest by the time he was in hospital.
He underwent immediate resuscitation and was intubated. He also was given an emergency tracheotomy to allow him to breathe.
However, the bull had speared Barrio through the lung and severed an aorta in his chest carrying oxygenated blood around his body.
There was also damage around his heart.
The Los Maños bred bull, named Lorenzo, had reportedly been struggling but caught the showman off guard after a gust of wind affected his waving of the crutch.
The matador met his match at the annual festival named Feria del Ángel, reports El Mundo.
The horrific goring was shown live on TV, and viewers have uploaded footage of the scene on social media.
After going into cardiac arrest in the hospital there was no hope for Barrio, who died of a fatal goring with a perforation of the lung and thoracic aorta.
In his final tweet on July 4, Barrio posted a picture of him in training, writing: ‘With the mind set on Teruel.’
During bullfights the matador takes the lead role in killing the animal, usually clad in the opulent red and gold ‘traje de luces’ (suit of lights).
Now the lineage of Lorenzo the bull is set to end. As tradition dictates, the rancher will send his mother cow to the slaughterhouse, reports Cultura.
Although deaths from Spain’s famous bull runs are relatively common, with up to around 10 deaths recorded each year, worldwide the last matador death was in 1985.
In that incident Columbia’s Jose Eslava Caceres was trapped against the boards before his lungs were pierced by the bull’s horns.
The last matador deaths in Spain were Francisco Rivera Paquirri in Córdoba, 1984, and Jose Cubero Yiyo in Madrid, 1985.
Two bandilleros, Manolo Montoliú and Ramon Soto Vargas, who plant little flags with barbed points in the top of the bull’s shoulders, were also killed in the ring in 1992.
Barrio was a trained professional and named the winner of San Isidro bullfighter by the Senior Club of Madrid.
Ms Sanz, 32, posted a message less than a week before the tragedy advertising a coach trip locals were organising to Teruel which included a lunch and tickets to the bullfight which formed part of an annual festival in the town called the Feria del Angel.
The festival coincides with another world-famous one, the ongoing San Fermin or Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona.
She said: ‘Have you got plans for next Saturday, July 9? Come to Teruel. Their annual festival is very famous and they compete, and not only in respect of dates, with San Fermin.
‘And to cap it all Victor Barrio is taking part.’
In her last Facebook post, on July 7, she also raved at the fact San Fermin was starting again, joking: ‘I’m going to play the lottery today, which is dedicated to the fiesta. Let’s see if I can get away to see it.’
Ms Sanz, a journalist who married her husband in 2014, narrowly missed out in her bid to become mayoress of Sepulveda in municipal elections last year.
She served as deputy mayoress following her PP’s party pact with the governing left-wing PSOE party until their agreement came to an end earlier this year.
The town hall offered its condolences in a message it posted on its website today, saying: ‘Sepulveda’s town hall and its staff offer their deep condolences over the death of the matador and resident of this town Victor Barrio.
‘It also offers its condolences to his widow Raquel Sanz, member of this municipal corporation, to his parents and to the rest of his family.
‘Sepulveda will remember you always.’
Ms Sanz retweeted a message of condolence from Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy on her Twitter in the early hours of this morning.
She also retweeted a warning message from a TV station dedicated to bullfighting which asked supporters of the blood sport to alert them to offensive messages on social media.
It followed a flood of messages from opponents of bullfighting on places like Twitter rejoicing at Victor Barrio’s death.
One, Jona Weinhofen, wrote: ‘He obviously hasn’t heard the saying, “You Mess with the Bull, you get the horns.” Zero sympathy, thank you Karma.’
Barrio, who became a fully-qualified bullfighter in 2012, died moments after being rushed to a field hospital by the side of the bullring after being gored yesterday afternoon.
His death was the first of a matador this century in Spain in a bullring.
Two matadors died in the eighties, including the famous Francisco Rivera.
Two bandilleros, who plant little flags with barbed points in the top of the bull’s shoulders, were killed in the ring in 1992.
The bullfight was suspended after the incident, which was broadcast live on Spanish television.
Barrio became a bullfighter relatively late in life after working on a golf course.
The showman made the decision to become a bullfighter at the age of 20.
He once said: ‘I had always felt a 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.’
The team behind the Las Ventas bull ring in Madrid, where Barrio began as an apprentice, wrote on their Twitter feed that they were ‘distressed an very moved’ by the death.
‘All of us send our condolences this team to family and friends,’ they commented.
While the matador nearly always survives during shows, the bull dies practically every time expect after exceptional performances where the animal’s life is spared.
After the tragedy the festival was suspended.
Víctor Barrio trended worldwide on Saturday night as news of the shock death poured in.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy shared his sympathies on Twitter, and Spanish politician Cristina Cifuentes wrote: ‘All my love to your family and friends. DEP’
And while many others expressed their condolences, some were unsympathetic due to the cruel nature of the sport.