Tributes have begun to pour in from the extreme sports world over the sudden death of skydiver Erik Lars Roner, an MTV athlete, who was killed Monday when he struck a tree during a parachuting stunt at a charity event.
BMX athlete Dave Mirra worked with Roner years ago on “Nitro Circus,” a reality show featured on MTV. Roner was a member of the crew.
“We’re praying for his family,” Mirra said. “Rest in peace, Erik, and thanks for putting it on the line every time you’ve entertained us.”
Roner, 39, of Tahoe City, Calif., was part of a team performing at a charity golf tournament when he hit a tree and became entangled about 9:45 a.m., the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said.
Roner, a professional skier and BASE jumper, was pronounced dead at the scene; all other skydivers landed safely, officials said.
The accident occurred at an annual golf fundraiser for the Squaw Valley Institute in Olympic Valley. An investigation into the accident is ongoing, and the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified, sheriff’s officials said.
“He hit a tree ... he hit a tree so hard. I don’t know what happened from there,” Roy Tuscany, founder of the Lake Tahoe-based High Fives Foundation, told Teton Gravity Research, an action sports media company.
“Nitro Circus” said Roner was the third skydiver to jump in performing a three-man parachute stunt. According to witnesses, Roner missed the drop zone target and hit a large tree, the show said in a statement.
“Erik was world-renowned for his antics and lovable personality in ‘Nitro Circus’ media and live shows across the globe,” they said.
In a statement released Monday, MTV said it was saddened by Roner’s death, saying it would “will miss the boundless energy, fearlessness and good vibes he brought to our audience. Our hearts go out to his friends and family.”
“Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville said Roner, who was married with two children, will be missed.
He attended Brigham Young University, where he continued to ski and graduated with a degree in graphic design.
He eventually would become a pioneer in the sport of ski BASE jumping, in which a skier jumps off tall cliffs and uses a parachute to descend back to the ground. Roner completed jumps from mountains around the world.
The Squaw Valley Institute said in a statement that Roner regularly donated his time to the nonprofit organization.
“The Squaw Valley Institute is mourning Erik’s loss, and their deepest sympathies are with his family and friends at this time,” the organization said.
On his website, Roner ends his biography with a quote attributed to writer and journalist Hunter S. Thompson: “Faster, faster, faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.”
Roner wrote in a magazine a few years ago: "It’s a great life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”