One of the central figures in the most beloved moment of the London Olympic Games opening ceremony was tragically killed in a skydiving accident this week.
Mark Sutton was part of the skydiving team that parachuted into the Olympic Stadium during a hilarious skit that involved Daniel Craig as James Bond and none other than Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Sutton was dressed as Bond for the dive, while another stunt expert hurtled toward the center part of the track clad as Her Majesty, following a sequence that showed the unlikely duo teaming up and traveling from Buckingham Palace via helicopter.
A spokesman for online extreme sports channel Epic TV revealed Sutton had died Wednesday during a project that involved 20 wingsuit pilots being filmed leaping from helicopters in southwestern Switzerland.
Sutton, 42, is reported to have crashed into a ridge near Trient and fell to his death after exiting the helicopter at 10,800 feet. Local police were investigating the incident as of Thursday afternoon.
Games ceremony organizer Danny Boyle led the tributes to Sutton and spoke how the former British Army officer had “made the stadium gasp.”
“The show was built from so many contributions from so many people, none finer and braver than Mark Sutton,” Boyle said. “On behalf of everyone in the show we were all honored to have worked with him and to have known him as a friend and a professional.”
It was Boyle who put together the idea for using Bond and the Queen in the ceremony, with the monarch believed to have been swayed into participating by the fact that Boyle’s movie 'Slumdog Millionaire' is one of her favorites.
Prince William, his wife Kate and Prince Harry were all spotted on camera in fits of laughter at the unexpected scene, which was kept as a tightly guarded secret even as details of other ceremony segments leaked out ahead of time.
Wingsuits, like the one used by Sutton in his fatal final jump, are an advanced development in skydiving technology that allow users to soar long distances before finally opening their parachutes to land.