The Walking Dead executive producer Scott M. Gimple and AMC responded to the death of John Bernecker, the 33-year-old stuntman who died after an on-set accident on Wednesday.
“Our production is heartbroken by the tragic loss of John Bernecker,” Gimple said in a statement released Friday night. “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.”
Bernecker was rushed to the Atlanta Medical Center after suffering blunt force trauma from a fall during production on The Walking Dead season 8. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
The AMC network confirmed “John Bernecker’s family has decided that he will be removed from life support following organ donation.” Their statement added, “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.”
Bernecker’s family and union, SAG-AFTRA, also released statements following his death.
Though “heartbroken” and “devastated,” his 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,” reads a response posted to the LifeLink Foundation website. “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.”
SAG-AFTRA offered “its deepest condolences” to Bernecker’s family. The organization further reiterated that “the safety of our members is paramount. We will work with the authorities and closely monitor their investigations into this tragic incident.”An investigation into Bernecker’s death was also opened by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Members of the Walking Dead cast — including Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan, Norman Reedus, Ross Marquand, and Chandler Riggs — continue to extend their condolences and support to the family. “No words can express my sadness for John Bernecker and his family,” Cohan tweeted. “Thank you all for having them in your thoughts and prayers also.”
Production on The Walking Dead season 8, which is scheduled to premiere in October, was halted when the accident occurred. It’s unclear when filming will resume.