A Spanish bullfighter has been gored to death in front of horrified spectators. He was the first to be killed in the ring in more than three decades.
Bullfighter Victor Barrio died after being struck in the chest by a bull, which kept attacking him as he lay motionless on the ground. The attack, which occurred at a bull ring in the eastern town of Teruel on Saturday evening, was aired live on television.
Other toreros rushed in to try to rescue Barrio, attempting to distract the 500 kilogram (1,100 pound) bull. Medics were also at his side immediately. However, it was too late for the 29-year-old, who succumbed to his injuries. Barrio was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the organizers of the corrida (bullfight). He is the first Spanish bullfighter to have died in the ring in the 21st century.
Spanish President Mariano Rajoy Brey sent his sympathies after the death.
"My condolences to the family and colleagues of Victor Barrio, the bullfighter who died in Teruel. Rest in peace," he wrote on Twitter.
Reactions from the bullfighting community
Fellow torero Manuel Escribano tweeted: "There are no words in moments like these. May God take you in his glory. Rest in peace, my comrade and friend."
Torero Eduardo Gallo said: "It can't be true. Words fail me. This is one of the most impactful pieces of news in my life. Rest in peace, comrade."
First matador to be killed in 32 years
The last Spanish matador to be killed in the ring was in 1985, when 21-year-old rising star Jose "El Yiyo" Cubero died after being gored through the heart. In 1992, two banderilleros - assistant bullfighters - died in the ring.
In 2015, prominent Spanish bullfighter Francisco "Paquirri" Rivera Ordonez was badly injured after being gored in the groin by a bull. His father had been gored to death in 1984. In the 20th century, a total of 134 bullfighters and bull-racers died from injuries sustained in the ring or during similar events.
In Mexico, another center for the sport, famed matador Rodolfo Rodriguez was gored by two bulls earlier in the year and left quadriplegic. He died a month ago of a heart attack possibly related to complications from his injuries.
Criticism of a billion-dollar industry
Bullfighting has come under fire in recent years from animal rights activists who denounce the sport as cruel and dangerous. Several regions or cities have put a stop to corridas and encierros - annual bull-running festivals. Bull-running remains popular in Pamplona in northeastern Spain in particular.
On the same day as Barrio's death, a Japanese man was gored in the chest during the bull-run in Pamplona. He remains in a stable condition. However, another Spanish man was killed during a bull-run in the southeastern city of Valencia the same weekend.
Many maintain, however, that bullfighting is steeped in tradition, while also fueling parts of the Spanish economy. According to official figures, 1,868 bull-related events were held in Spain in 2014, which attracted six million spectators. The sport is said to bring in 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) annually.
However, with the animal welfare party PACMA winning 1.2 percent of votes in elections in June 2015, bullfighting is becoming a hotly debated issue in the country. The group has long campaigned to bring an end to the sport.
Clashes on Twitter
Many people have since voiced their anger at the tradition of bullfighting on Twitter, with disparaging and highly critical statements making the rounds, while others shared more moderate views.
Many Spaniards meanwhile shared sentiments of sympathy and disbelief, with tweets often featuring the acronym "D.E.P." (Rest in Peace) alongside messages of condolence.