Fearless Adventurer Johnny Strange Has Died at 23
“Something went wrong” during a wingsuit jump in Switzerland.
Fearless daredevil Johnny Strange, famous for ascending the seven summits before his 18th birthday, died Thursday after a wingsuit accident in the Swiss Alps. The 23-year-old was filming what’s called a wingsuit proximity video, in which “we fly super close to stuff,” he recently told KROQ’s Kevin & Bean.
Swiss police told the Associated Press that Strange died not long after jumping from Mt. Gitschen, an 8,245-foot peak near Lake Lucerne. Winds were reportedly very strong around the mountain at the time of the accident.
A Malibu native and USC graduate, Strange conquered his first of the seven summits, Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, when he was only 12. From there he hoped around the world climbing each continent’s highest peak. And when he was finished, he was everywhere, appearing on CNN, Conan and CBS News.
But he was also ready to expand his horizons. He took up base jumping, sky diving, downhill skating and surfing. When he was 20 he became the youngest person to complete the explorers grand slam, which requires trips to the top of the seven summits and both the North and South Poles. And each time he completed an adventure he would unfurl two signs in an attempt to draw attention to genocide and Parkinson’s.
“I have been fortunate enough to travel the world and genocide is a terrible thing that still occurs,” he said in a statement a few years back. “I want to open people’s eyes to the issue and get them interested to help stop genocide.”
Here’s a video from last summer of Strange doing some of the wingsuit jumping that he was doing when he died. May he be remembered as a total badass.
Also of note, Strange happened to be high school classmates with the model Gigi Hadid, who tweeted her thoughtful remembrance on Friday morning.
Photos by John Sciulli / Getty Images