A leading bullfighter became the first matador to die in the ring in more than 30 years when he was gored twice by the 1,166-pound animal, once in the thigh and then the chest. Victor Barrio, 29, was taking part in a bullfight in the eastern town of Teruel that was being broadcast live on television. Spectators, including his wife, watched as the bull first sent Barrio to the ground before ramming his horn through his chest in an action that pierced his lung and aorta. Although medics were at his side right away, they could not save him.
“My condolences to the family and colleagues of Victor Barrio, the deceased bullfighter this afternoon in Teruel. Rest in Peace,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote on Twitter.
Although Barrio was the first professional matador to die in the ring since 1985, two assistants to the matador known as “banderilleros” were killed in 1992. Plus others have died in bull festivals. On the same day as Barrio was killed, a man was gored to death in a late-night bull run near the southern village of Pedreguer, near Valencia. Injuries are also rather common.
Barrio’s Facebook page was taken offline after it was overrun by people celebrating his death. Although there are still around 2,000 bullfights a year in Spain the number decreases every year amid increasing protests by those who say the tradition is nothing short of barbaric. Two Spanish regions have banned bullfights.