Deep in the Yosemite Valley in eastern California lived a man named Dean Potter. He was hailed as a visionary, a pioneer and a madman within the worlds of climbing and extreme sports.
Potter, 43, and another wingsuit BASE jumper, 29-year-old Graham Hunt, were found dead Sunday after attempting an aerial descent, CNN reports. The two men's bodies were found after an extensive helicopter search, prompted by reports that the pair had gone missing late Saturday.
The deaths of both men have left a void in the climbing world.
“We as climbers are really good at justifying what we do. And those of us who push the safety aspect convince themselves that they are invincible,” climbing contemporary Tommy Caldwell tells TIME. “I definitely felt Dean was invincible and when something like this happens I get shattered and it makes me very introspective and makes us pause and take a reality check.”
Potter was driven to face his fears rather than flee from them, sparked by childhood dreams that involved both flying and falling.
"I always wondered as I got older if it was some premonition of me falling to my death," he hauntingly told Outside Magazine in the above video from 2014.
Watch as Potter soared beyond his anxieties, transforming falling into flying.