Wanstead James Bond stuntman Steve Truglia dies during 100m abseil race in China
PUBLISHED: 16:43 22 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:43 22 November 2016
The best friend of a Wanstead stuntman, who died after falling 100 metres from a helicopter, has described him as a “real life superman”.
Steve Truglia, 54, of Wanstead Park Avenue, was killed while completing an speed abseil in a national park, near Chengdu, in China, on Thursday.
The former Wanstead High School pupil, who was also a member of the SAS and SBS for 20 years, had appeared in numerous films and TV shows including Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Saving Private Ryan.
The canoeing enthusiast posted on Facebook the night before his death: “I’m out here doing a big aerial stunt, (when the weather breaks). Can’t discuss it here. Tell you another time.”
Steve’s best friend Phil Tunnicliffe told the Recorder he was impossible to sum up.
“How do you describe such a remarkable man, brother, in so few words, I just don’t know,” he said.
“We were as close as brothers, maybe closer, I spoke to him almost every day. A part of me has died.
“He achieved almost everything he turned his hand to, free diving, card tricks, music, he was a real life superman.”
Phil first met Steve 36 years ago on SAS training, “up a bleak Welsh hillside”.
“He shared a piece of current cake with me that his mum had made,” Phil said.
As their names corresponded closely in the alphabet, they ended up on a lot of special forces training together.
An emotional Phil explained: “It was 34 years to the day that we were doing parachute training in Brize Norton, our lives have been intangibly linked.”
Steve lived in the same house in Wanstead his entire life, in later years caring for his mother.
Phil, who lived the other side of Wanstead Flats, in Manor Park, explained Steve would often text him saying “cafe?”, and they would always meet at the Bungalow Cafe, in Spratt Hall Road.
Another of Steve’s army and stunt colleagues Richie stated he had “a big heart”.
“When I had my nervous breakdown and other problems, he was the first on the phone to offer me help and support,” he explained.
“During the last two years I knew nothing about this but he would ring my mother often to check up on me and give support to my family and me.”
A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed the death.
He said: “We have offered assistance to the family of a British national who has sadly died in Chongqing, China.
“Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”
Phil and some other friends will now travel out to China to bring back the body.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box below for details.