(CHINA, LANKAPUVATH) –A well-known Chinese climber has died while performing one of his trademark daredevil skyscraper stunts.
Wu Yongning had amassed thousands of followers on the social network Weibo for his dramatic short videos showing him perched atop tall buildings without the use of safety equipment.
Concern grew among his fans when he stopped posting updates in November.
It has now emerged that he died after falling from a 62-storey building in the city of Changsha.
Chinese media report that he was participating in a challenge to win a substantial amount of prize money.
The 26-year-old died on 8 November, but his death was only confirmed by his girlfriend in a post on Chinese social media a month later.
So-called “rooftopping” – climbing extremely tall city buildings without safety equipment – has become increasingly popular across the world in recent years.
Mr Wu’s posts on Weibo warned his viewers not to imitate his dangerous performances. He had martial arts training, and had previously taken part in some television and film productions.
But it was his rooftop posts which brought him significant attention on social media – and, according to local media reports, proved more lucrative.
A family member was quoted as saying he was participating in a “rooftopping” challenge with 100,000 yuan (£11,300) at stake in prize money, though the nature of the competition and its sponsor was unclear.
“He planned to propose to his girlfriend (the day after the challenge),” the South China Morning Post quoted his step-uncle as saying.
“He needed the money for the wedding, and for medical treatment for his ailing mother.”
On Weibo, friends and fans had a mixed reaction to the news.
Fellow rooftopper Charlie_7U posted a photo taken with Mr Wu, saying: “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.
Another user asked: “Why would you seek attention in such a dangerous way, just for your fans?
“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.”
The rooftopping trend is popular across the world in heavily developed cities. Despite safety concerns, many climbers insist that the use of safety equipment detracts from the experience.
“The moment you start wearing safety equipment is the moment you’ve got doubt and when you’ve got doubt, that’s when things can go wrong,” UK climber James Kington told the BBC last year.
“It completely changes the way you look at things. You see everything as a possibility rather than walls restricting you.”