Michael Leming lived his life on the edge. A legend in Portland's mountain-climbing community, Leming was BASE jumping in Norway on Sunday when his parachute failed to open, reports KGW. The circumstances surrounding his death aren't clear, but a text posted to Facebook—apparently sent from a man who was jumping with Leming—suggests others witnessed the accident and the 53-year-old "did not suffer." A former model and lead talent scout for Nike for 15 years, Leming helped save lives as a volunteer mountain climber with the Portland Mountain Rescue. He was generally known for his thrill-seeking adventures and had BASE jumped at locations around the world using both parachutes and wingsuits, per OregonLive.
Friend and KGW reporter Joe Donlon says an early death was "probably inevitable ... Michael saved numerous lives, while living his own life on the edge. And his journey on that precarious path finally caught up with him." A few years ago, Leming nearly died during a BASE jump in Kuala Lumpur, Donlon writes on Facebook. "Something had gone wrong with his parachute." Before that, in 2002, he was working to attach a climber to a helicopter cable during a rescue on Mount Hood when the copter spun out of control and crashed right beside him. The whole event was captured on live TV. "He told me he would never forget the smell of jet fuel, and the scene that played out in front of him," says Donlon. Leming kept the cable as "a reminder of the thin line—between life and death—when you climb mountains." (Read more BASE jumping stories.)