In a statement released by AMC on Thursday, it was announced that The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple as well as executive producers Gale Anne Hurd, Robert Kirkman, Dave Alpert, and Greg Nicotero would be attending the funeral for series stuntman John Bernecker. As such, they will not be able to attend this Saturday’s Television Critics Association’s (TCA’s) bi-annual press event to promote the show’s eighth season as the timing would conflict with Bernecker’s funeral services.
Though production resumed on July 17, the loss of Bernecker weighed heavily upon the cast and crew gong into The Walking Dead’s SDCC panel last week, with Gimple reading a statement about Bernecker on behalf of the cast and crew to open the panel:
“John passed away this week after he was injured doing something he loved: helping tell stories that excite, entertain, and give people escape. He helped make movies and shows for people like everybody in this room. John was someone who was beloved in the stunt community, who helped train people and helped them break into the business He was living his dream, and he helped other people do the same.”
— The Walking Dead (@WalkingDead_AMC) July 21, 2017
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) July 21, 2017
AMC shut-down production on The Walking Dead‘s Season 8 shortly after the tragic accident that took Bernecker’s life in June 2017. Performing a stunt with series regular Austin Amelio (Dwight), Bernecker was required to fall 22 ft. onto a safety cushion. According to the incident report from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Bernecker was not able to separate himself properly from the balcony and instead landed head and neck first onto the concrete pavement next to the safety cushion. Bernecker was airlifted to medical facilities in Atlanta, where he was placed on a ventilator but would never regain consciousness. His family made the difficult decision to turn-off his ventilator the following day.