Vampire Diaries Stuntman Dies from Injuries Sustained on Walking Dead Set
Being a stunt double is an incredibly dangerous job that often can cause serious injuries. John Bernecker, a stuntman who worked on NUMEROUS projects including The Vampire Diaries, The 5th Wave, The Hunger Games and Goosebumps, tragically passed away at 6:30 PM ET on Wednesday after losing his footing while rehearsing a scene on The Walking Dead and falling 30 feet to the concrete below.
Coweta County Coroner Richard Hawk confirmed to Deadline that the 33-year-old man died of blunt-force trauma. A separate hospital source told the website that his family turned off the ventilator he was put on upon arrival on Thursday.
“We are saddened to report that John Bernecker, a talented stuntman for The Walking Dead and numerous other television shows and films, suffered serious injuries from a tragic accident on set,” AMC said in a statement on July 12 before his death. “He was immediately transported to an Atlanta hospital, and we have temporarily shut down production. We are keeping John and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Jennifer Cocker, the deceased man’s girlfriend, posted about her boyfriend’s injuries on Facebook shortly after the fall. She wrote, “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… THIS ISN’T FAIR.”
Actors like Kellan Lutz, Gary Weeks, Lauren Cohan and Gina Carano remembered the man who worked with them on various projects on social media.
#JohnBernecker was one of the best most talented stuntmen I have ever been blessed to work with. Praying for his family and loved ones!
— Kellan Lutz (@kellanlutz) July 14, 2017
Was literally just joking around with #JohnBernecker on set a few weeks ago. Can't believe it. We lost such a great person & performer.
— Gary Weeks (@GaryWeeks) July 14, 2017
Dear Walking Dead Family, please keep John Bernecker, our stuntman and his family in your prayers today.
— Lauren Cohan (@LaurenCohan) July 13, 2017
— Laura Cayouette (@KnowSmallParts) July 13, 2017
John Bernecker doubled me this season for a spectacular stunt on Turn S4. He was a beautiful, positive, meticulous professional who made…
— samuel roukin (@samuelroukin) July 14, 2017
Can't stop thinking about John Bernecker. All of my love and hopes for solace goes out to his loved ones and our community.
— JordanWoods-Robinson (@jwoodsrobinson) July 14, 2017
— Gina Carano (@ginacarano) July 14, 2017
Our thoughts are with John’s family, friends and colleagues at this incredibly difficult time.
7 celebrity stunt doubles who got tragically hurt on movie sets:
Chloe Grace Moretz's Kick-Ass 2 Stunt Double
While filming the 2013 action movie, Chloe Grace's stunt double cracked her head open after being thrown against a wall. "They used a hydraulic system and they did it too much and it just pulled her an inch too far and she cracked her head on a bar," Chloe said during an interview. Yikes! That's just horrific.
Photo: Universal Pictures