Over at The Walking Dead, things have taken a turn for the tragic, and not at all in the scripted sense. As the hit series was in production on Wednesday, stuntman John Bernecker was taking part in what was otherwise a normal stunt procedure when he fell from a 25-foot high balcony onto the concrete floor below. And sadly, after a day or so in intensive care, Bernecker officially succumbed to his injuries and has died.
The Walking Dead has been deep in the heart of filming for the highly anticipated eighth season, and John Bernecker was reportedly rehearsing a fight scene atop the aforementioned balcony, and though it was intended to be a routine fall, the stuntman appeared to lose his footing, which sent him over the edge. He was taken by Medevac from the Raleigh Studio set to the Atlanta Medical Center, where he was taken to ICU and put on a ventilator. According to Deadline, he was pronounced as braindead, with life support keeping him breathing.
Inevitably, the injuries were just too serious, and according to TMZ, the 33-year-old John Bernecker was surrounded by his family and friends when the ventilator was shut off on Thursday evening. Among those present was his girlfriend, who'd taken to social media in the aftermath with an emotional plea. There was, on Thursday, a point when Bernecker's brain swelling appeared to go down, but it was only temporary, and the swelling returned. The official cause of death is accidental blunt force trauma.
The seriousness of the situation was definitely felt yesterday, as The Walking Dead temporarily shut down production in order to handle everything accordingly. Some stars, such as Lauren Cohan and Daniel Newman, took to social media as well, putting the word out.
We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of John Bernecker during this incredibly sad time. Hopefully peace can be found for all, and Bernecker's decorated career within the industry won't soon be forgotten.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC for Season 8 at some point later this year -- get your first look here -- presumably around its normal October start time. At this point, it's obviously not clear when all involved will go back into production following this terrible incident, nor if the delay will affect the impending release. (This is actually the second fall-related death tied to the show in the past week, as voice actor Randy Schell was recently killed in a horrifying skydiving accident.) We can expect to hear more about the issue in the near future, though, considering The Walking Dead will be all over Comic-Con next week. To see when everything else is hitting primetime soon, head to our summer premiere schedule.