Well-known Chinese rooftop climber Wu Yongning, who had thousands of follows on social media platform Weibo for his dramatic short videos, has died while performing a stunt.
The 26-year-old died after falling from a 62-storey building in Changsha, the capital city of China’s Hunan province, while performing one of his signature skyscraper performances. He died on 8 November, but it wasn’t until a month later that his death was confirmed in a post on Chinese social media by his gilfriend. His death was also caught on camera.
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According to the BBC, a family member was quoted as saying he was participating in a ‘rooftopping’ challenge with 100,000 yuan (£11,300 / $15,100) at stake in prize money. However, the details of the competition, and its sponsor is unclear.
“He planned to propose to his girlfriend (the day after the challenge),” the South China Morning Post quoted his step-uncle as saying.
“He needed the money for the wedding, and for medical treatment for his ailing mother.”
Friends and fans have taken to Weibo to respond to the news, with fellow rooftopper Charlie_7U posting a photo taken with Yongning and saying: “He went a bit over the top, always trying things that are beyond his ability.”
“I have even saved him once… we stopped playing together,” he added.
But not everyone had positive comments to make about Yongning’s death. One other user said: “Why would you seek attention in such a dangerous way, just for your fans?
“I became speechless after I found out from news that you were doing all that to pay for your ill mother’s hospital treatment. You are one of those people in this world, you will do anything for your loved ones, absolutely anything.”
Rooftopping involves climbing extremely tall buildings without safety equipment, which has become a popular trend across the globe recently. Many climbers say that the use of safety equipment detracts from the experience of rooftopping.
“The moment you start wearing safety equipment is the moment you’ve got doubt and when you’ve got doubt, that’s when things can go wrong,” UK climber James Kington said, speaking to the BBC last year.
“It completely changes the way you look at things. You see everything as a possibility rather than walls restricting you.”