The 33-year-old rapper died Saturday while performing a music video stunt that involved rapping while walking on the wing of a plane

By Karen Mizoguchi
October 23, 2018 08:52 PM
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Credit: Jon James/Instagram

Jon James McMurray died Saturday while performing a music video stunt that involved rapping while walking on the wing of a plane.

PEOPLE confirmed the Canadian emcee’s death on Tuesday, three days after he fell to his death in Vernon, British Columbia, where he was filming a music video project he had been working on for months, according to his rep.

McMurray had been training “intensively” to complete the stunt on a small Cessna plane. “His final act included performing an airplane stunt that included rapping while walking on the wing,” a statement from his rep 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.

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.

Here are things to know about 33-year-old rapper:

Jon James

He Risked His Life Numerous Times

McMurray’s dreams included being a professional skier. Before music, the star, who was born in Calgary and grew up skiing in the Rocky Mountains, was best known as the first skier ever to backflip on and backflip off a rail, and became one of the most innovative skiers during his time.

However, his ski career came to a halt after sustaining multiple injuries including a broken back and shattered heel. His previous injuries also required several surgeries, two of which were for a fractured neck and broken back, according to Newsweek.

Loved Ones

McMurray is survived by his wife Kali, father Doug, mother Jen and brother Jarred. Family and friends described him 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.”

Kali, who is a former Playboy model, paid tribute to her late husband on Instagram Story, writing, “I’m so proud. You touched so many people [sic] lives.”

In addition, she shared a video montage of his stunts on social media. “He’s a legend. I will forever live in your legacy,” Kali captioned the footage.

Fellow skier Rory Wayne Bushfield also mourned McMurray’s death. “He planned for everything. It should have been straightforward. It’s one of those things. We’re not really sure what happened,” Bushfield said.

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.”

Final Songs

On Monday, the McMurray family released the first posthumous track, titled “Patron.”

The rapper’s final Instagram post before his death was to promote his song featuring Riff Raff called “The Man,” which was the single he was performing in an Oct. 2 Instagram video that showed him practicing an airplane stunt.

The $10 million GoFundMe fundraiser, started by Bushfield, is “dedicated to releasing all of Jon James’ remaining music and video content for the world to see, hear, spread and enjoy,” according to its description page.

“He has hundreds of tracks and new albums that he recorded and prepared for us to release in the event of his death,” it stated. “The funds raised on GoFundMe will be completely dedicated to production of Jon’s music and video content specifically to be made into series, which had been planned in the event of this tragic ending.”

In 2016, he released an album, titled Rex Leo.