The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple says the production is "heartbroken" by the death of stuntman John Bernecker, while his family says his organs will be donated.

Production on the eighth season of the AMC show was halted temporarily after the stunt performer sustained serious injuries in a fall on the set in Atlanta on Wednesday. He later passed away. 

"Our production is heartbroken by the tragic loss of John Bernecker," Gimple said in a statement. "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 also known for his work on shows such as 24:Legacy, Scream Queens and Into the Badlands and movies such as Logan, The Fate of the Furious and the upcoming Black Panther.

His family confirmed his death Friday.

"Although devastated by their loss, John's 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," read a message posted on the website of the LifeLink Foundation. "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."

"John Bernecker's family has decided that he will be removed from life support, following organ donation," AMC said. "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."

John Bernecker, Stuntman


Several The Walking Dead stars and other actors who worked with Bernecker took to social media to pay their condolences.

"Love and prayers to Johns family and friends today. You will be missed," Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, wrote on Instagram.

A post shared by norman reedus (@bigbaldhead) on

Bernecker's death was ruled accidental and spurred investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the SAG-AFTRA union. His death is believed to be the first stunt-related death in the United States in more than 17 years, Deadline reported.

It is unclear when The Walking Dead will resume production or if the premiere will be delayed. The show typically begins its seasons in October.

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