He was famous in China for posting videos and photos hundreds of metres in the air. Picture: Weibo
He was famous in China for posting videos and photos hundreds of metres in the air. Picture: Weibo

Real reason the daredevil died

FAMOUS for performing death-defying stunts on some of the world's tallest buildings, it was that exact reputation that eventually killed "China's first rooftopper" Wu Yongning.

On November 8, the 26-year-old daredevil plunged to his death after falling from a 62-storey building.

Wu, whose nickname was "The Extreme", had been attempting pull-ups on the edge of Huayuan International Centre, a building in the Chinese city of Changsha, when he slipped and fell 15m.

Wu Yongning performing a similar building side stunt. Picture: Weibo
Wu Yongning performing a similar building side stunt. Picture: Weibo

Wu was performing the stunt to win $A20,000 in prize money from an unnamed company.

And when fellow rooftoppers found out about Wu's death, many of them were quick to blame the company.

It didn't take long for people to question why companies are sponsoring young people to illegally climb buildings often hundreds of metres in the air and wearing no safety equipment at all.

Speaking to CNN, a Chinese rooftopper named Claire said companies should stop encouraging the trend.

"These companies will pay money to the video-makers," she said. "If you sign a contract with them, they'll pay for your tickets and accommodation and everything to fly you to another city to do crazy things.

"And they state clearly that they are not responsible for any casualties if there ever was one."

Other rooftoppers pointed the finger at Wu, claiming his risk-taking was what killed him.

According to the BBC, a friend of Wu's who had been rooftopping with him, said he went "beyond his ability" at times.

On Weibo, Charlie_7U posted a photo taken with Yongning and wrote: "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."

Another Weibo user said Wu shouldn't be "condemned" after his death.

"Everyone has something they are passionate about. For this high-risk activity, we can choose not to support him or not to abuse him," they wrote.

"Although his behaviour was a bad influence on kids and teenagers, he should not be condemned after his death."

After Wu died, his family told Chinese media he had been performing the stunt specifically for the prize money.

Wu Yongning performing a rooftopping stunt. Picture: Weibo
Wu Yongning performing a rooftopping stunt. Picture: Weibo

According to numerous reports, Wu was going to use the prize money to propose to his girlfriend and get his sick mother medical help.

In an editorial published by the state-run China Daily,writers blamed Wu's death on the lack of regulation surrounding livestreaming apps.

"Had Wu not been so popular on livestreaming apps, he might not have died ... Some of them try to hype things up with obscene and dangerous things, and their purpose is to attract more eyeballs and make a profit. It is time we ended this," it read.

Wu boasted 60,000 followers on a blog he ran who would regularly tune in to his nailbiting rooftopping stunts. These same followers would donate money if they were impressed with the video.

They also made up a portion of the 15 million people who watched Wu's final stunt on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

Wu's dangerous stunts and martial arts skills saw him amass thousands of followers on Weibo, who became concerned when he stopped posting updates in November.

He has now become the latest rooftopper to fall to his death as arrests and fatalities continue to rise.

In 2015, a 24-year-old slipped from the top of the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan and a 17-year-old fell from a building in Russia.

Last year, two teenagers were arrested in Adelaide after they were caught breaking into building sites to take photos of themselves hanging off ledges and cranes.