Extreme athlete Erik Roner‘s favorite quote came from Hunter S. Thompson: “Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.”
Roner, who starred in the MTV reality series Nitro Circus and was beloved in the extreme sports community, was killed when he collided with a tree during a skydiving demonstration at a charity event in California, NBC News reported.
Erik was 39, and leaves behind a wife and two children.
The event was a charity golf tournament near Lake Tahoe. Roner and three other skydivers, including JT Holmes and Aaron McGovern, were the opening act.
McGovern and Holmes landed first and safely on the fairway near the 9th hole, the Associated Press added. When Roner came in for his landing, he hit a tree close to the landing zone, extreme sports media company Teton Gravity Research added.
Erik died immediately on impact as 120 eyewitnesses, there for the golf tournament, looked on. Eyewitness and friend Roy Tuscany described the scene. Roner’s parachute was entangled in the tree, 30 feet above ground, for 40 minutes after the accident.
“He hit a tree… he hit a tree so hard. I don’t know what happened from there. There’s no protocol for this kind of rescue. There’s no manual. It was just horrible.”
While they waited for emergency personnel to reach him, people on the ground searched for ladders and even tried to stand on each other’s shoulders in an attempt to reach Erik’s body.
Erik was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Roner was one of my favorite people to travel with. He had the truest vibe from deep, deep down. He was up for everything. Food, people, adventure, the unknown; he loved all of it… He was [a] brilliant human being. Super nice, super charismatic, could blend into any scene around the world, and a total badass and ripper. It’ll be devastating, and he’ll be missed so hard by so many people.”
Erik Roner was an accomplished extreme sports athlete. A Northern California native, he graduated from Brigham Young University, where he played soccer. Since 2000, he was a professional sky diver, BASE jumper, and professional skier, MTV added. His talents brought him to TV — he starred in the Nitro Circus Crew, which spawned a reality show, live world tour, and feature film. In recent years, he hosted a show on Outside Television.
Roner began as a professional skier, then combined this sport with skydiving and added ski BASE jumps to his repertoire. Erik was the first person to ski BASE jump of Cody Peak, starred in many TGR films, and performed stunts live and on TV all around the world. He even BASE jumped into a stadium in South Africa as 23,000 people looked on.
Roner was married to wife Annika, and together they had two children — a daughter, Kasper, and a son, Oskar — a fact that is far more important than Erik’s career, Tuscany noted.
“That’s the most important thing that needs to resonate amongst everyone. That Erik had an amazing family–two beautiful, beautiful kids and an amazing wife.”
Erik’s accident is being investigated, and the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified. Roner had regularly contributed to the charity that hosted Monday’s event, the Squaw Valley Institute Celebrity Golf Classic, which is dedicated to “presenting enriching and inspirational programs to the Lake Tahoe region.”
Roner’s death has sent shockwaves throughout the extreme sports community, with many friends and fans expressing their grief on social media, among them fellow athlete Ian McIntosh.
“Words cannot express how truly crushed I am right now! Roner you were a great friend, mentor and inspiration to me. So many good times and so many great memories. I owe so much of who I am today to you. You will live on in my heart forever buddy. I will never forget what a truly Amazing human you have always been. Sending so much love to Annika, Oskar and Kasper xoxo”
[Photo Courtesy YouTube Screengrab]