Wu Yongning’s fans are distraught after the Chinese daredevil plunged to his death while doing a stunt. Learn more about the stuntman here.
1. The daredevil rose to fame online: Wu Yongning, 26, wowed crowds and charmed his online following by doing a series of insanely risky, incredible stunts. The daredevil specialized in “rooftopping,” the practice of stunts involving skyscrapers and other dangerous settings. He would scale the buildings without using any safety equipment, relying only on “martial arts training and careful planning.” He would tiptoe across narrow beams, and do pull-ups on the very edges of roofs. He shared more than 300 videos of his shocking stunts with his more than one million followers on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter).
2. His death was a tragic accident: Wu inadvertently filmed his own death in November when he was capturing an extra-risky stunt. The footage shows him hanging off the side of the 62-story Huayuan Hua Centre in Changsha, a city in eastern China, attempting to do pull-ups. Everything seems to be going well with the impressive routine, until it becomes clear that something’s amiss. Wu appears to be struggling to pull himself back up, and it’s terrifying. Suddenly, he plummets to his death. The footage is brutal, but you can watch it above.
His fans were puzzled when he hadn’t posted any videos for a month, and only learned of his death after his girlfriend, identified only by her last name, Fu, posted a heartfelt message in his honor. “Today is December 8th,” she wrote on social media. “It makes me think of November 8th, the day you left us and left this world.”
3. He did stunts to help his family: Wu’s family was reportedly “poverty-stricken,” and he did his stunts to raise money to help them. His mother is also reportedly in the hospital with mental health issues, so he needed to cover medical expenses, as well. He was reportedly getting paid $15,000 for the stunt that took his life. It’s unclear who was sponsoring him.
4. He was proposing to his girlfriend: Wu’s step-uncle Feng Shengliang told the South China Morning Post that he was hoping to use the prize money from his fatal stunt to get married to Fu. “He planned to propose to his girlfriend [the day after the challenge],” Feng was quoted as saying. “He needed the money for the wedding, and for medical treatment for his ailing mother.”
5. He used to be a movie stuntman: prior to doing his famed rooftopping on social media, Wu did stunts in movies in China. It’s unclear when he stopped.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Wu Yongning’s loved ones during this difficult time.