‘Walking Dead’ Stuntman Dies After On-Set Accident

John Bernecker Stuntman Dead
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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.”

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“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.

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  1. Jenna says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Thank you so much for being an organ donor. My son needs a heart transplant. Although he won’t get his, you are saving many people’s lives by sharing. I hope you can find some peace in that.

  2. Tamara nigh says:

    What a terrible accident. My condolences to his family.

  3. van says:

    ive watched the walking dead and I’ve seen those “making of” videos of how the episodes are made. some of the dangerous stunts are totally unnecessary for like a 5-10 second bit and could easily be replicated with CGI, which they already do a tonne of anyway. extra CGI work could have saved a life…
    i know the whole point in stunt work is to do dangerous things that the actors can’t risk doing but if it isn’t 99% safe they it’s not worth someone’s life.

  4. Soul hunter says:

    Well this dead ain’t walking no more.
    (RIP)

  5. debbiewilkinson says:

    My Deepest Condolences such a horrible accident to take this bright talented young man so early in his life.I live in Savannah GA and the WD was a great show.I am praying for strength and courage for his family 🕉🙏💙🙏🙏

  6. DON CELY says:

    This is a time to remember a fine man and artist who lost his life with honor while doing his work. It is an awful tragedy, so it’s time to mourn him, not speculate about why and try to out-diagnose his doctors.

    Traumatic brain injury is one of the worst things that can happen to a person and can result from a number of different causes. It is likely that Mr. Bernecker did not suffer long, and that his injuries had so compromised his brain that it would be incapable of performing the usual processes to keep him alive. Better to let him go that keep an unconscious body alive just long enough to develop pneumonia or decubitus ulcers (bed sores).

    Think of those he left behind, and if you feel comfortable to pray that they remember the good things and that their grief will be brief.

    Also, I don’t know if Mr. Bernecker was an organ donor, but if so, he may live on to give others life. I urge everyone to make sure your family knows your preference in case the worst happens to you. Even in death, there can be new life.

  7. George says:

    You see ?
    This wouldn’t have happened with a pro like Frank Darabont as showrunner.
    They saved too much money again and hired the wrong people.

  8. Caralyn Haglund says:

    Stuntmen and women are so often never given the credit they deserve.

  9. Rudy Mario says:

    RIP

    Why does Variety not mention any loved ones he left behind- parents, spouse, partner, children ?

  10. Tony says:

    Tragic indeed. Hope this puts many things in perspective

  11. Chason says:

    So handsome.

  12. Alex Meyer says:

    How sad. RIP.

  13. Lesli Lytle says:

    It’s heartbreaking when a young person dies.
    I am sorry for the loss of such a promising man.
    May his friends and his loved ones find peace soon.

  14. PB says:

    Poor guy and his family :( R.I.P

  15. sab says:

    I normally wouldn’t agree because I still love the show and don’t know what you naysayers are talking about but all the political and legal shenanigans going on behind the scenes as well as AMC’s reputation are going to overshadow the quality of the show…AMC’s cash cow. Maybe they’re getting too big for their britches over there…snap out of it and take care of your people over there AMC…frakkin’ studio jerks!!!

  16. xvoorheesx says:

    The Walking Dead is dying of blunt forced drama.

  17. cami says:

    ALot of people in their daily jobs could not come home at the end of the day, ie: police, fire, pilots, manufacturer workers the list is long and if he loved what he did that is what matters its just a shame he was so young.

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