UPDATE: The Walking Dead stuntman John Bernecker’s family have confirmed his death and announced that they will donate his organs, via a statement shared by nonprofit the LifeLink Foundation. “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 reads. “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.”
Having received confirmation from Bernecker’s family, SAG-AFTRA followed up its original statement with a new one Friday evening. “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,” the union’s new statement reads. “The safety of our members is paramount. We will work with the authorities and closely monitor their investigations into this tragic incident.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened a fatality investigation into Bernecker’s death.
EARLIER: John Bernecker, a stuntman on The Walking Dead, died after sustaining “serious injuries” on the set of the AMC drama, the Coweta County Coroner’s Office in Georgia confirmed to EW. He was 33.
The incident occurred on location in Atlanta during production on season 8. According to various reports, Bernecker fell more than 20 feet and hit the concrete below. AMC released a statement yesterday explaining Bernecker was rushed to a hospital as production was temporarily halted.
The coroner told EW he was pronounced dead at Atlanta Medical Center on Wednesday, July 12 after succumbing to injuries from blunt force trauma.
Bernecker performed stunt work on numerous films over the past few years, including more recently on Marvel’s Black Panther, Rampage, The Fate of the Furious, Logan, and Get Out.
Transformers: The Last Knight director Michael Bay released a statement in support of “the cast and crew of The Walking Dead and the entire Stunt Community that we love.” It read, “Such a sad day with the passing of John Bernecker, in a tragic accident on their set.”
A spokesperson for SAG-AFTRA released a statement at the time of the incident. “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,” it read. “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.”
Watch a reel of Bernecker’s stunts above.