Production on AMC's hit series The Walking Dead has temporarily shut down after stuntman John Bernecker died as a result from injuries sustained on set. Bernecker was placed on a ventilator Wednesday after the accident, having fallen more than 20 feet and missing his safety cushion. The show was filming at Raleigh Studios in Atlanta, Georgia when the accident occurred. AMC released a statement yesterday to say that they were "saddened" by the news of the serious injuries while also announcing plans to postpone shooting of the season for an undeclared amount of time. No official statement from AMC has been released following Bernecker's death as of this writing.
Variety reports that 33-year old stuntman John Bernecker, whose specialty was high falls, suffered a serious head injury after falling more than 20 feet from a balcony on to the concrete, missing his safety cushion by inches. Bernecker was rehearsing a stunt and was airlifted to a near by hospital, barely able to breathe on his own and shifting in and out of consciousness. Bernecker was placed on a ventilator, which the family reportedly decided to shut off late Wednesday evening. The coroner said that the cause of death was accidental blunt force trauma to the head.
Bernecker performed stunts for over 90 Hollywood movies including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Fate of the Furious, The Green Lantern, Logan, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to name a few. In addition to being a stunt performer, Bernecker also choreographed fight scenes and has a few more upcoming movies that will be released in the near future. Bernecker's work will be seen in the MCU's Black Panther as well as the upcoming Rampage movie starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Sylvester Stallone's Escape Plan 2: Hades. All three movies will hit theaters in 2018.
SAG-AFTRA, which represents stuntmen has said that it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident to figure out what went wrong through a statement. The statement reads "We have been informed of a serious injury on the set of The Walking Dead and are investigating the situation. As always, the safety and security of our members and others on set is of our crucial concern to us and we are focused on this in our investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the performer and his family."
The Walking Dead actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan took to Twitter early Friday morning to say "Deep sorrow today, and for every tomorrow. Love, respect, and condolences to John's family, and friends. He will forever be missed." In addition, actor Jordan Woods-Robinson tweeted "Can't stop thinking about John Bernecker. All of my love and hopes of solace goes out to his loved ones and community." Ann Mahoney, who appeared in season 7 of The Walking Dead said "Much sadness about #nola actor John Bernecker today. Sending peace to his family. Pray for them please." The cast and crew of The Walking Dead is said to be a close, tight-knit family, so it is hard to imagine what they are all going through at this time. It is unclear when the filming of season 8 of The Walking Dead will commence.