(WTAE) — A veteran stuntman working on the hit cable series “The Walking Dead” is dead after a “tragic accident,” officials confirm.
John Bernecker, 33, on Wednesday was practicing a fight scene with an actor that was intended to end with a “routine fall” from a balcony, according to Deadline, but he lost his footing and fell more than feet on his head. Production on the eighth season was temporarily shut down following the incident in Georgia.
A coroner for the Coweta County Coroner’s Office said the cause of death was blunt force trauma, Atlanta’s FOX 5 reports. TMZ also reported his death and said he was surrounded by friends and family, including his girlfriend, who also performs stunts on the show.
In a Thursday statement, AMC said “We are saddened to report that John Bernecker, a talented stuntman for ‘The Walking Dead’ and numerous other television shows and films, suffered serious injuries from a tragic accident on set. He was immediately transported to an Atlanta hospital, and we have temporarily shut down production. We are keeping John and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
On Wednesday, Bernecker’s girlfriend, Jennifer Cocker, posted on Facebook “John deserves to be seen by every neurosurgeon and doctor there is until one of them sees the life we all know he has in him and bring him back to us … THIS ISNT FAIR.”
Bernecker’s films as a stuntman date back to 2009, according to IMDB, and include major films such as “Looper,” “22 Jump Street,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts 1 and 2,” “Logan,” and the upcoming “Black Panther.”
Cast members from the show offered support to Bernecker, with Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, tweeting on Thursday “Dear Walking Dead Family, keep John Bernecker, our stuntman and his family in your prayers today.”