A stunt gone terribly wrong on the set of AMC’s hit zombie series The Walking Dead has temporarily halted production of the show’s eighth season in Atlanta. According to USA Today, stuntman John Bernecker sustained serious head injuries during a stunt after falling 20 to 30 feet onto concrete Wednesday. Bernecker was medically evacuated to Atlanta Medical Center, where he was in the ICU. TMZ reported Thursday night that Bernecker was on a ventilator and his prognosis was not good, while Deadline spoke to a source who said he is brain-dead and on life support while his family makes arrangements. AMC earlier released a statement regarding the "tragic" accident, saying Bernecker and his family are “in our thoughts and prayers." In a separate statement, the SAG-AFTRA union (which represents stunt performers) said it was investigating the incident.
"As always, the safety and security of our members and others on set is of crucial concern to us and we are focused on this in our investigation." Bernecker’s girlfriend Jennifer Cocker made a plea to the doctors treating him on Facebook, writing: "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 ISNT FAIR." Per the Hollywood Reporter, the New Orleans native is a seasoned stuntman whose recent work includes Get Out, The Fate of the Furious, and the Hunger Games franchise. Sources say he was rehearsing a fight scene with an actor on the Walking Dead set when he had his accident; it was meant to end with a routine stunt fall from a balcony, but Bernecker lost his footing.