UPDATED at 9:17 p.m PT: AMC and “Walking Dead” showrunner Scott Gimple released statements on Bernecker’s death.
“John Bernecker’s family has decided that he will be removed from life support, following organ donation,” AMC said. “We are deeply saddened by this loss and our hearts and prayers are with John’s family, friends and colleagues during this extremely difficult time.”
“Our production is heartbroken by the tragic loss of John Bernecker,” Gimple said. “John’s work on The Walking Dead and dozens of other movies and shows will continue to entertain and excite audiences for generations. We are grateful for his contributions, and all of us send our condolences, love, and prayers to John’s family and friends.”
“Walking Dead” stuntman John Bernecker has died after suffering an accident on the show’s set in Georgia, Variety has confirmed.
According to Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk, Bernecker died at Atlanta Medical Center of blunt force trauma due to his fall. He was reportedly placed on a ventilator after the accident, which was turned off on Thursday.
Bernecker fell more than 20 feet off a balcony onto a concrete floor, suffering a serious head injury that required him to be transported to a nearby hospital by helicopter. AMC announced Thursday that they had temporarily shut down production on the show’s eighth season in the wake of the tragedy.
Bernecker is a veteran stunt performer and fight choreographer. Per his IMDB page, he has worked on projects such as “Olympus Has Fallen,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” parts 1 and 2, and “Logan,” among many others. He is also listed as having worked on upcoming films like Marvel’s “Black Panther” and Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage.” He has been an actor in several films, with small parts in “Logan,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Goosebumps,” and an episode of Season 1 of “True Detective.”
A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said on Thursday the guild is investigating the accident.
“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,” AMC said in a statement on Thursday. “He was immediately transported to an Atlanta hospital and we have temporarily shut down production.”
In addition, the Atlanta office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) confirmed to Variety on Friday that they have launched their own investigation into the incident.
SAG-AFTRA also issued a statement on Friday after his family confirmed his death: “SAG-AFTRA offers its deepest condolences to the friends and family of John Bernecker, an accomplished stunt performer who passed away after a fall on the set of ‘The Walking Dead’ in Georgia. This tragic and untimely loss of a member of the SAG-AFTRA family is heartbreaking, and our thoughts are with his loved ones and his friends and colleagues in the Georgia production community.
“The safety of our members is paramount. We will work with the authorities and closely monitor their investigations into this tragic incident.”
The LifeLink Foundation posted a statement saying that he would serve as an organ donor: “Although devastated by their loss, John’s loved ones have ensured his legacy will live on, not only through the personal and professional contributions he made during his life, but also by their generous decision to allow John to save lives as an organ donor,” the statement read.