A Canadian “stunt rapper” died after falling off the wing of a plane during a music video shoot in BC this week.
Jon James McMurray, who rapped under the name Jon James, died on Monday after complications occurred during the stunt. According to a statement his management team gave to press, McMurray was set to film a scene for the video where he would be rapping on the wing of a plane—it was something he “trained intensively for.”
"However, as Jon got further out onto the wing of the plane, it caused the small Cessna to go into a downward spiral that the pilot couldn’t correct,” his management team said. “Jon held onto the wing until it was too late, and by the time he let go, he didn’t have time to pull his chute. He impacted and died instantly.”
The plane eventually landed safely. McMurray’s body was found near the small community of Westworld in a farmer’s field, an hour outside of Kamloops, BC. The farmer that found the body told Global News that after seeing people searching fields, they searched their own and found the body of McMurray “in a crater.”
His management team told the Globe and Mail that McMurray grew up in Calgary skiing until he had an injury which broke his back and shattered his heel. While a skier McMurray was the first to land a “Fizzle Flip” a spinning backflip between rails. After his injury though was McMurray turned his gaze to music and combined that with his love for stunts.
Some of McMurray’s music videos have hundreds of thousands of views. One of the most viewed videos was a song called “Hello” and to film the video he teamed up with Travis Pastrana and his Nitro Circus crew. It featured McMurray rapping while skydiving and the climax of the video is McMurray base jumping off a bridge from the top of a moving tractor trailer.
Friends and family have been writing tributes to the rapper. In the statement, his management team said McMurray was an "incredibly passionate person who was always smiling, "had a heart of gold" and "never spoke poorly about another person."
Rory Bushfield, a professional skier and old friend of McMurray, wrote a tribute post on Facebook to McMurray, saying he was “living his ultimate dream, free and full.” He said the two grew up, skiing, filming, and messing around with cameras.
“As much as Jon James loved music and skiing and flipping, he loved cameras,” reads the post. “When we met at age 14 he had a camera and he used every chance he got every day until last Saturday when he was using 12. He rolled around everyday with chargers for numerous devices. He would say things like ‘it’s better than nothing’ when we were just messing around and shot a funny video.”
The final video on McMurray’s YouTube page, which was posted two weeks ago, showed Bushfield and McMurray skydiving and base jumping in in Squamish, BC. In a weird twist of fate the final moments of the final video on his page shows McMurray looking into the camera laughing and saying he just received “the the best advice he’s ever gotten” (it was from the extreme athlete Cody Matechuk).
“I asked Matechuk, ‘how high should I pull from this base jump,’ he’s like ‘I dunno, pull before you hit the ground,’” said McMurray.
Bushfield wrote that he alongside some of McMurray’s family and friends have started a Go-Fund-Me to use the “hundreds of hours of music and footage” he left behind in a tribute to the man.
McMurray’s death is being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board and BC Coroners Service.
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