Skydiving trailblazer Alexander Polli has died after a wingsuit BASE jumping accident in the French Alps, NBC News reports. The 31-year-old legend slammed into a tree early Monday during a jump in the dangerous Couloir Ensa near Chamonix. He died at the scene, the PGHM mountain rescue unit told NBC. The spot is popular with jumpers but one rescuer said, “It’s a location where there are a lot of accidents.” Polli, who has dual Italian-Norwegian citizenship, is famous for breathtaking stunts that have racked up millions of views on YouTube. His 2013 leap into the narrow Batman Cave in Montserrat Spain from a helicopter speeding at 155mph has been clicked nearly 14 million times. The move had never been attempted before. "In jumping he was fearless—or looked it, at least, doing stunts that took my breath away," Tony Uragallo, Polli’s friend and wingsuit designer, told NBC.
Fans posted tributes on Polli's Facebook page and the World Wingsuit League wrote that Polli’s “legacy continues to inspire new generations of jumpers for years to come. Besides jumping, friends from all around the world are going to miss his free-spirit energy and contagious laughter.” Asked about his “absolutely crazy" stunts, Polli told Deutsche Welle he was well-prepared and never sets out to risk his life. He even confided that he was scared of heights. “To be quite honest,” he added, “I am extremely scared of dying." It’s been a deadly month in the French Alps for extreme sports. Accidents have claimed the lives of five people in August: two climbers, a paraglider, a hang glider, and a wingsuit jumper, the Guardian reports. (Read more Alexander Polli stories.)