'Walking Dead' Stuntman Dies From On-Set Injury
AMC shut down production after the incident.
John Bernecker, the stuntman on The Walking Dead who suffered a serious head injury on set on Wednesday, has died, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The coroner in Coweta County, a suburban area southwest of Atlanta, confirmed that he became brain-dead — legally dead — on July 12 at 6:30 p.m., about a day and a half ago. Overnight on July 13-14, it has ben reported, a ventilator was withdrawn, although this could not be authoritatively confirmed and THR has received information to the contrary as well.
Bernecker fell more than 20 feet onto a concrete floor on the show's Georgia set leading AMC to "temporarily shut down production" in the wake of the incident.
News first emerged of the fall on Thursday morning, and at the time the network said he "suffered serious injuries from a tragic accident on set" and was transported to Atlanta Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, where he was being treated in intensive care before he died.
"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," an AMC spokesperson said Thursday. "He was immediately transported to an Atlanta hospital and we have temporarily shut down production. We are keeping John and his family in our thoughts and prayers."
A spokesperson for SAG-AFTRA, which represents stunt performers and coordinators, said Thursday : “We have been informed of a serious injury to a SAG-AFTRA member 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 crucial concern to us and we are focused on this in our investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the performer and his family.”
Bernecker's résumé lists high falls as among his dozens of specialties, many of which are shown in his reel. His IMDb page lists 105 credits dating back to 2009, with recent work on 24: Legacy, Get Out, The Fate of the Furious and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
The Walking Dead cast and producers had been due to appear at San Diego Comic-Con later this month. It's unclear if this production accident changes those plans.