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Walking Dead Season Eight Production Suspended After Tragic Stuntman Accident and Death (Updated)

Image: AMC
Image: AMC

Production was halted yesterday on season eight of The Walking Dead following serious injuries to John Bernecker. Bernecker has since passed away.


As first reported by, and confirmed by Deadline and TMZ, Bernecker succumbed to the head injuries he received from the fall, passing away last night. Bernecker has an extensive resume on imdb which includes stunts for Black Panther, Logan, The Hunger Games, and Looper.

Sources told Deadline that Bernecker’s injuries were the result of a 30-foot fall to a concrete floor while “rehearsing a fight scene that was supposed to end with a routine fall from a balcony.” Bernecker was rushed to the hospital yesterday and AMC halted production following the accident.


In a statement given to Deadline at the time of the accident, AMC said, “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 continued, “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.”

There is no word on when production might resume. We’ve reached out to AMC and will update if we hear back.

Update: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into Bernecker’s death. EW confirmed the investigation and was informed by an OSHA spokesperson that the investigation must be completed in six months at the latest.

Update, Sat/15, 12:38pm: AMC and The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple have both released statements on Bernecker’s death.

Statement from AMC:

“John Bernecker’s family has decided that he will be removed from life support following organ donation. 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.”

Statement from Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer and Showrunner of The Walking Dead:

 “Our production is heartbroken by the tragic loss of John Bernecker. 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.” 


Katharine is the former managing editor of io9.

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I’m reading this and thinking-

Why are there no Emmys and Oscars for stunt work? These are the only ones out there literally dying to make these entertainments.