Rapper Jon James, 33, Falls to His Death While Performing Music Video Stunt on the Wing of Plane
"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," his rep confirms to PEOPLE
Jon James McMurray, a musician from Canada, died while performing a music video stunt that involved rapping while walking on the wing of a plane. He was 33.
The Calgary-born emcee died Saturday in Vernon, British Columbia, filming a project he had been working on for months, a statement from his rep confirms to PEOPLE. McMurray had been training “intensively” to complete the stunt on a small Cessna plane.
“He died filming for a project he had been working on for months. His final act included performing an airplane stunt that included rapping while walking on the wing,” the statement said.
“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. 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 statement continued.
His family and friends described McMurray as an “incredibly passionate person” with a “heart of gold” who was “always smiling” and would “want to be remembered as a beacon of light to follow your dreams.”
On Oct. 2, McMurray shared an Instagram video of himself practicing an airplane stunt while singing his song, “The Man.”
McMurray, who was also an accomplished skier, pursued music after a back injury prevented him from continuing his ski career. He released an album, titled Rex Leo, in 2016.
His previous stunt performances also involved several serious injuries including seven surgeries, two of which were for a fractured neck and broken back, according to Newsweek.
Rory Wayne Bushfield, who was featured in McMurray’s video, paid tribute to the late rapper on Instagram Monday.
“The sun is not as bright today as it was yesterday when it was shinning on my homies last moments. Jon James Mcmurray, my very best, dearest and oldest friend passed yesterday evening in a skydiving accident,” the professional skier wrote. “He was living his ultimate dream, free and full. May he Rest In Peace. I’m gonna miss him so much. Thanks for all the lessons over the years fee. You where such a good man, you brought up everyone around you and I promise to try my best to live as free as you did.”
Bushfield has also created a GoFundMe page, with a goal of $10 million, to “help his people get his stuff out there to the world in the right way” and “help with Jon James’ celebration of life.”
The Vernon North Okanagan Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it responded to a report of a skydiver who sustained fatal injuries as a result of a parachuting incident. The coroners’ service and the Transportation Safety Board are all investigating the death.
McMurray is survived by his wife Kali James, father Doug, mother Jen and brother Jarred.