John Bernecker, a 33-year-old stunt performer and fight choreographer, has died after suffering a serious head injury due to an accident on the set of The Walking Dead in Atlanta.
The incident occurred when Bernecker was practicing a fight scene and lost his footing, causing him to fall off a balcony that was more than 20 feet high and onto a concrete floor. He was then transported to Atlanta Medical Center via helicopter on Wednesday where he was reportedly placed on a ventilator. The decision to remove him from life support was made on Thursday and the official cause of death given by Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk was the blunt force trauma he suffered in the fall.
AMC have announced that they’ve temporarily shut down production on season 8 of The Walking Dead in response to the tragedy, releasing the following statement:
“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.”
Bernecker was a veteran of the industry, with his credits including The Hunger Games franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, 24: Legacy, The Fate and the Furious and many, many more. His upcoming projects included Marvel’s Black Panther and Dwayne Johnson vehicle Rampage. His acting credits, meanwhile, boast Logan, Goosebumps, True Detective and others.
In total, he had worked on more than 100 TV shows and films since his career began in 2009. By all accounts, he was also very popular, with many of his colleagues taking to social media to express their shock and sadness at his death.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with Bernecker’s friends, family and the cast and crew of The Walking Dead at this tragic time.