Wu Yongning, a 26-year-old Chinese daredevil roofer, was confirmed dead more than a month after the popular Internet star stopped publishing videos on the Weibo platform. According to reports from the Chinese police, Yongning died on November 8 after falling from the 62-story Huayuan Hua Center, one of the tallest buildings in Changsha, the capital of the Hunan province.
Yongning was making the challenge of “rooftopping” (the dangerous art of climbing to the roof of skyscrapers and high-dimensional structures to take shocking selfies) to earn 100,000 yuan (about USD $ 15,000) in prizes, according to statements from his family to the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald, although no details were given about who the sponsor was.
Wu worked as an extra in movies before beginning his career in rooftoping. He began publishing his feats of fearlessness on Weibo, the equivalent of Twitter in China, last February, and with more than a million followers, Wu appeared regularly in social media ads and live broadcast platforms.
His girlfriend, identified only by the last name Fu, called the police on November 9 after Yongning did not return home. Apparently, he ended up risking his life to take home the prize money, according to his stepfather Feng Shengliand.
“He planned to propose to his girlfriend the day after the challenge. He also needed money for the wedding and medical treatment for his sick mother. ”
Wu became famous for climbing skyscrapers without any security equipment, using only his training in martial arts and careful planning, according to one of his publications on Weibo. Until November he had shared almost 300 videos of his adventures on various buildings in China.
In recent years, the popularity of rooftoppers has exploded thanks to social networks, especially under the impetus of Vitaliy Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov, who made themselves known by climbing to the top of the Great Pyramid. But the tragic end of Wu Yongning unfortunately reminds us all of the massive risk taken by these thrill seekers to achieve their great feats.