A stunt performer has died after a fall on the set of “The Walking Dead.”
Coweta County Coroner Richard Awk confirmed to WSBTV.com that John Bernecker died Wednesday.
Good Morning America reported the stuntman fell 25 feet onto concrete.
Production on the AMC action-packed zombie series has been halted following the fall.
The stuntman reportedly suffered a head injury so severe, he had to be taken by helicopter to a level one trauma center in Atlanta.
In a statement obtained by Deadline early Thursday, representatives from AMC confirmed that Bernecker “suffered serious injuries from a tragic accident on set.”
“We have temporarily shut down production,” the statement said. “We are keeping John and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Bernecker had a long and impressive list of film credits. His work included the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther,” due out next year, and “Rampage,” which just wrapped. Production temporarily halted on “Rampage” when another stuntman, Dave Macomber, was injured.
Friends and loved ones have been flooding social media accounts with messages of grief and tribute. His girlfriend, Jennifer Cocker, posted a message of anguish while he remained hospitalized.
“John deserves to be seen by every neurosurgeon and doctor there is until one of them sees the life we all know he has in him and bring him back to us,” she wrote. “This isn’t fair.”
The tragedy happened to coincide with the latest legal action stemming from a fatal accident on the set of “Midnight Rider.” Crew member Sarah Jones, 27, died when a train came hurtling down the track where the film crew was setting up for a scene. The production did not have permission to film on the train trestle outside Jesup.
Director Randall Miller reached a plea deal that avoided a trial and absolved his wife and business partner, Jody Savin. In pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing, Miller received a sentence of two years in jail and eight on probation, in addition to a $20,000 fine.
Jones’ parents Richard and Elizabeth settled a lawsuit filed against numerous plaintiffs involved with the case but CSX, which owns the tracks where the unauthorized production work was taking place, is mounting a defense.
In his testimony on Thursday, Richard Jones acknowledged that the crew was trespassing but said CSX should have taken action to prevent the fatal wreck, Deadline reported.