Wu Yongning, a 26-year-old Chinese daredevil who established a following by scaling skyscrapers with no safety equipment for the purpose of capturing his exploits, died just over a month ago. After one of his stunts went wrong, he fell 62 stories as a result. The video of that attempt was not made public (at least in a widespread way) until this week.
The disaster occurred in the Chinese city of Changsha, and was reportedly attempted because of Wu's desire to win a prize worth the equivalent of $15,000. According to his step-uncle, Wu had intended to use those winnings to pay for a wedding for himself and his girlfriend, in addition to paying for treatment for his ailing mother. However the sponsor (and nature of) that competition is not clear at this time.
The inadvisable stunt was a result of "rooftopping," the climbing of tall buildings without protection, which has become increasingly (and inexplicably) popular in recent years. Wu had gained thousands of followers on the Chinese social media site Weibo for his stunts, though he advised viewers not to imitate them. He also reportedly caused a panic among his followers when he stopped posting in November, though they now have confirmation as to why that abruptly ended.
According to the BBC, Wu's death sparked a mixed response from a public torn between being entertained by his feats and wondering just what the hell he was thinking.
"Why would you seek attention in such a dangerous way, just for your fans?" one Weibo user wondered. Another was moved by the story of what he intended to spend his dough on, writing, "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."
A fellow rooftopper also chimed in by stating Wu routinely bit off more than he could chew, even resulting in him having to be saved from an earlier death. "He went a bit over the top, always trying things that are beyond his ability," that climber called Charlie_7U posted. "I have even saved him once... we stopped playing together."
Since Wu's attempts were filmed for the sake of posting onto social media, footage of his final attempt can be seen by those who would actually wish to see it. You can watch the video below, though you should be warned that even though it cuts out at the end some viewers/readers may still find it upsetting: