Daredevil dies in stunt gone wrong, falls from skyscraper
IT WAS supposed to be the stunt that would pay for his wedding and provide his sick mother with medical help.
Instead, Wu Yongning, who called himself "China's First Rooftopper", lost his grip right at the end of the risky stunt and plunged from the 62-storey building to his death.
On November 8, the 26-year-old daredevil was performing pull-ups on the edge of Huayuan International Centre in Changsha, a city in central China.
The video clip featured Yongning carefully lowering himself off the ledge before doing a number of pull-ups on the edge of the wall.
It went viral on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, clocking more than 15 million views in less than a month.
But right at the end of the video was where tragedy struck.
Attempting to pull himself back up onto the ledge, Yongning is seen struggling in the video as he tries to hoist his leg up. He loses his grip and plunges backward, dropping out of shot.
According to police, he died from the fall when he landed on a terrace 15 metres below the ledge. A window cleaner found his body.
Yongning'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.
His girlfriend, identified only as Jinjin in local news outlets, confirmed his death this week.
Yongning's step uncle Feng Shengliang told South China Morning Postthe daredevil had planned to propose to his girlfriend the day after the stunt. The prize money, $A20,000, was going to be used to pay for the wedding. He was also going to use the money to get his sick mother medical help.
Numerous Chinese media outlets reported the stunt was part of a competition, with the reward being 100,000 yuan as a prize. It's unclear who was sponsoring the competition.
The building, which also hosts the Grand Hyatt Hotel, is only accessible to the public up until the 44th floor.
According to the BBC, a friend of Yongning'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," he added.
Yongning's following on Weibo came from the over 300 videos he'd posted.
Originally, the daredevil posted mostly about being an extra in films and doing martial arts but his rooftopping videos saw his popularity explode.
They were also more lucrative for the social media star, with fans embracing his gutsy skyscraper scaling, often with no safety equipment.
He live-streamed videos of himself on the website Volcano where fans could donate money.
He had been paid more than $A11,000 for the 217 videos he'd posted.