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 where he was reportedly placed on a ventilator. The decision to remove him from life support was made shortly after and the official cause of death given by Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk was the blunt force trauma he suffered in the fall.
Bernecker was one of the most prolific stunt performers in the business, with over 100 credits to his name in the past seven years, including The Hunger Games, Logan and the upcoming Marvel movie Black Panther. After his death, production on the show was halted and though it’s now since resumed, the incident has cast a shadow over the upcoming season.
During this weekend’s TCA, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman spoke about what happened and said that Bernecker’s death is something that’ll continue to stick with the show.
“It’s a tragedy, so it’s something that everyone is dealing with in their own way, and it’s something that will continue to stick with us for years to come.”
When asked how, or if, this would change anything in terms of the storyline for season 8, Kirkman noted the following:
“No storylines were changed, you know, that was a tragic accident. It wasn’t story related, it was just a freak accident that happened on set and it’s something that we’re dealing with, but it hasn’t affected the storyline in any way.”
The Walking Dead season 8 shuffles onto AMC on October 22nd. It’ll arrive on the undead heels of Fear The Walking Dead‘s season 3 finale, so zombie fans needn’t worry about a lack of content this Halloween season.