'Walking Dead' Stuntman's Family Confirms Death, Plans to Donate Organs
SAG-AFTRA, AMC, FOX and series showrunner Scott M. Gimple shared their condolences in separate statements.
The family of Walking Dead stuntman John Bernecker, killed in an on-set accident Wednesday, confirmed his death Friday evening and said that they will donate his organs, according to a statement posted on the website of the LifeLink Foundation, an organ-donor network that operates in Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico.
“The family of John Bernecker is heartbroken to confirm that John has passed away from injuries sustained earlier this week,” the statement reads. “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 continues, “John will touch countless others as the family members, friends and communities of those who receive his organs will be forever impacted by the memories and milestones made possible thanks to a second chance at life. The family requests privacy during this time as they say goodbye to John.”
Shortly thereafter, SAG-AFTRA issued a statement as well, after having waited out of respect for the family.
“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,” continues the statement. "We will work with the authorities and closely monitor their investigations into this tragic incident."
AMC issued the following statement: "John Bernecker's family has decided that he will be removed from life support, following organ donation. 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."
The Walking Dead executive producer and showrunner Scott M. Gimple also shared his condolences after news of Bernecker's death. "Our production is heartbroken by the tragic loss of John Bernecker. 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," he said.
FOX shared, "As part of the extended The Walking Dead family, we are heartbroken over John Bernecker's tragic passing. On behalf of everyone at FOX channels around the world, we send our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones, the cast and crew."
Bernecker died after falling 22 feet from a balcony and landing headfirst onto a concrete floor, “just inches” away from padding that was the intended landing target, a witness told a Coweta County, Ga., sheriff's deputy in a report obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
July 14, 8:36 p.m. Updated with statements from AMC and Gimple.
July 14, 9:35 p.m. Updated with statement from FOX