Tragedy struck the set of AMC's The Walking Dead last week when stuntman John Bernecker died after a high falling stunt went wrong. The 33-year old stuntman suffered a serious head injury after falling more than 20 feet from a balcony on to the concrete, missing his safety cushion by mere inches. John Bernecker was rehearsing a stunt when the accident occurred and had to be air lifted to a nearby hospital where he was later put on a ventilator. The death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head and was ruled accidental. As news of Bernecker's death spread, the cast and Hollywood paid tribute to the late stuntman who had worked on over 90 Hollywood productions.
AMC halted production of the hit show directly after the accident took place, but shooting has resumed as of Monday July 17th. Cast member Pollyanna McIntosh, who portrays Jadis on the show, took to social media to pay tribute to Bernecker while simultaneously and quietly mentioning that production would resume today. McIntosh's Instagram posted a picture of the late stuntman with a caption below.
"As I prepare for work again tomorrow I'm thinking of John's friends and family and John. My heart goes out to you all and to the rest of your set family and families who've known John and his art."
The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan took to social media to pay his respects. The message stated, "Deep sorrow today, and for every tomorrow. Love, respect, and condolences to John's family, and friends. He will be forever missed." Jordan Woods-Robinson (Aaron's boyfriend) said, "Can't stop thinking about John Bernecker. All of my love and hopes for solace goes out to his loved ones and our community." Michael Traynor who portrays Nicholas also reached out through social media and said, "Deeply saddened to hear of the heartache and loss felt by The Walking Dead tribe. My finest thoughts to John's family."
Daniel Newman (Daniel) said, "HUGE prayers for our Walking Dead stuntman John Bernecker and family now!" Sabrina Gennarino Tamiel stated, "Sending peace, strength, love and prayers to the loved ones of John Bernecker. May his light live on in you." And Ann Mahoney (Olivia) said, "Much sadness about #nola actor John Bernecker today. Sending peace to his family. Pray for them please."
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.
In addition to his Walking Dead family, Hollywood also reached out to pay tribute to the late stuntman. Michael Bay took to Twitter to say, "Sending my support to the cast and crew of The Walking Dead and the entire Stunt Community that we love. Such a sad day with the passing of John Bernecker, in a tragic accident on their set." Turn's Samuel Roukin worked with Bernecker and said, "John Bernecker doubled me this season for a spectacular stunt on Turn season 4. He was a beautiful, positive, meticulous professional who made a career out of making other people look good. In the short time I knew him I was deeply impressed. I am sad to hear he has passed away and my thoughts are with his family at this awful time." Many more paid their respects to the late great stuntman John Bernecker and you can read them below. SAG-AFTRA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have opened investigations into Bernecker's death. Results are pending at this time.