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Well-Known BASE Jumper, Husband and Father of Two Dies in Tragic Skydiving Accident

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"A beautiful man, great father, wonderful friend."

Erik Roner of Nitro Circus is seen base jumping off The Signature at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on Wednesday June 1, 2011 in Las Vegas to promote the North American debut of Nitro Circus Live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday June 4, 2011. (Jeff Bottari/AP Images for Nitro Circus Live)

SAN FRANCISCO (TheBlaze/AP) -- When TheBlaze spoke with legendary skier and BASE jumper Erik Roner a few years ago about his daredevil stunts and how to prepare for such feats, he recommended those interested in BASE jumping start with skydiving first to “gain awareness and canopy control.”

It was doing just that — skydiving — that the 39-year-old husband and father of two lost his own life Monday.

Roner died during a skydiving accident at a golf course in Squaw Valley, California, about 5 miles from Lake Tahoe's northwest shore Monday, Placer County Sheriff's Capt. Dennis Walsh said.

In this 2014 photo provided by Outside Television, Erik Roner poses in Jackson Hole, Wyo., during an Outside Television Locals shoot. The extreme sports star skydiving for the opening ceremony of a golf event in Northern California died when he struck a tree Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, authorities said. (Outside Television via AP)

"Erik was a beautiful man, great father, wonderful friend and the love of my life," his wife, Annika Roner, said in a statement.

Witnesses told deputies Roner was part of a group conducting a skydiving performance before a golf tournament when he hit a tree while trying to land and became entangled high above ground, Walsh said.

Authorities were not able to remove him from the tree, and Roner was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other skydivers landed safely on the golf course in Squaw Valley, home of the ski resort that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Walsh said the investigation was continuing.

Roner's death comes four months after world-famous wingsuit flyer Dean Potter and fellow adventurer Graham Hunt fatally crashed after the pair leaped from Taft Point, 3,500 feet above Yosemite Valley, attempting to clear a V-shaped notch in a ridgeline.

Roner, a professional skier and avid BASE jumper, was known for being part of "Nitro Circus," an MTV show centered around freestyle motocross rider Travis Pastrana and his crew of extreme sports athlete friends. He also hosted the TV show "Locals" on sports network Outside Television.

"Nitro Circus" ended in 2009 after two seasons. "Nitro Circus Live," where Roner also appeared, aired on MTV2 for four seasons until last year, MTV spokeswoman Jennifer Solari said.

In this June 1, 2011, file photo provided by Jeff Bottari, Erik Roner, of Nitro Circus, talks to the media after a base jump off the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The extreme sports and MTV star skydiving for the opening ceremony of a golf event in Northern California died when he struck a tree Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, authorities said. (Jeff Bottari via AP)

"Action sports icon Erik Roner, legendary skier, BASE jumper and a founding member of the Nitro Circus Crew has passed away this morning doing what he loved; sky diving," Roner's manager, Travis Clarke, said.

Roy Tuscany, a friend of Roner who witnessed the accident, said he watched as two other parachutists landed safely on the golf course's fairway for the ninth hole but then looked on in horror when Roner slammed hard into a tree about 25 to 30 feet above the ground.

He said Roner's parachute got caught in the tree and Roner dangled there while many on the ground scrambled to find ladders and other means to get to him. At one point, several people attempted to stand on one another's shoulders to reach him.

"There's no protocol for this kind of rescue," Tuscany said. "There's no manual. It was just horrible."

Tuscany said Roner was "hilarious" and was a "stand-up guy" who could always be counted on to help with benefit events like the golf tournament. The tournament is sponsored by the Squaw Valley Institute, a nonprofit organization that describes itself as being "dedicated to presenting enriching and inspirational programs to the Lake Tahoe region."

"We are still trying to process this tragedy," said Rob Faris, a senior vice president at Outside Television. "Our hearts go out to his family."

Erik Roner of Nitro Circus is seen base jumping off The Signature at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on Wednesday June 1, 2011 in Las Vegas to promote the North American debut of Nitro Circus Live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday June 4, 2011. (Jeff Bottari/AP Images for Nitro Circus Live)

When TheBlaze spoke with Roner in 2012, he advised new BASE jumpers to consider working with a mentor.

"There is a lot you can learn from history and others experience," he said. "Going at it on your own increases your chance for injury or death for sure. When you’re BASE jumping there’s just not much time and you really rely and your skill and muscle memory.”

Roner, who had completed over 1,000 BASE jumps when we spoke to him in 2012, said this extreme activity was "probably the most surreal and most fun thing I’ve ever done."

Watch one of his flights in this video:

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