Chinese Rooftopper Dies After Fall from 62-Story Skyscraper

By Emily Guzman, December 12, 2017

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A 26-year-old rooftop climber has died while performing one of his popular stunts, reports BBC News.

Wu Yongning became popular on Weibo as a daredevil, regularly posting pictures and short videos of himself hanging from the tops of skyscrapers without any safety equiptment. He had over one million Weibo followers.

However, fans grew concerned when he abruptly stopped posting videos last month. 

His fans' suspicions were confirmed in a Weibo post by Wu's girlfriend. He died in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, on November 8, but his girlfriend only publicly confirmed the incident on social media a month later.

According to police, Wu died after falling from the 62-story Huayuan Hua Center, one of Changsha's tallest skyscrapers.

One of Wu's family members said that he had been participating in a contest to win RMB100,000 (USD15,100) in prize money, though the exact details of the competition and sponsor were unclear.

"He planned to propose to his girlfriend (the day after the challenge)," Wu's step-uncle told the South China Morning Post. "He needed the money for the wedding, and for medical treatment for his ailing mother."

Rooftop climbing has become a popular stunt globally and especially in China. The risks are clear and ever-present for climbers, but they, like Wu, are willing to do whatever it takes to get more views and followers on social media. But while the attention on social media and stunning photographs are alluring proponents of rooftop climbing, it is still a highly dangerous thing to do for amateurs and seasoned veterans alike. 

READ MORE: The Beijing Rooftoppers Who'll Do (Almost) Anything for the Shot 

Wu had even warned his fans against replicating what he did, explaining that his experience as a martial artist and stunt performer in TV and film lessened the risk factor — if only marginally. 

He found success and fame online with his dangerous climbs, which proved to be more lucrative than any of his previous work. He traveled all over China — including Chongqing, Changsha, Wuhan, Ningbo and Shanghai — to film his stunts.

daredevilFans and friends were quick to react to the news of his death on Weibo.

Fellow rooftoper Charlie_7U posted a photo taken with Wu with a caption that said: "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." 

Fans had mixed reactions to the news.

"Why would you seek attention in such a dangerous way, just for your fans?" asked one.

"I became speechless after I found out from news that you were doing all that to pay for your ill mother's hospital treatment," wrote another. "You are one of those people in this world, you will do anything for your loved ones, absolutely anything."

[Images via BBC News]

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