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Elizabeth Law
Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016


Universal Studios Singapore stuntman dies after brawl outside pub

The New Paper | Elizabeth Law | Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016

American stuntman John Denley Nelson (left).

Photo: Cheryl Miles

Loyal and reliable.

That was how ONE FM radio DJ Cheryl Miles described American stuntman John Denley Nelson, who died on New Year's Day.

Miles, who refers to him as "Nelson", called their circle of friends "more like a community than just a bunch of friends".

"That's the magic of Nelson. He connected people and made them feel like they belonged," said Miles, who has known him since 2011.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Miles said she last saw Nelson in late November, when he attended the Def Leppard concert.

She said: "Nelson was a really supportive friend and would come to many of our radio events. He would rally the troops and organise a group, or at times just come on his own.

"I have countless fond memories of concerts and parties that we've gone to together."


Mr Nelson, who worked as a stuntman at Universal Studios Singapore (USS), was badly hurt after a brawl outside a Circular Road club, near Mogambo Bar, in the wee hours of Dec 24.

He suffered traumatic head injuries and was put in an induced coma at the intensive care unit of Singapore General Hospital, wrote his friend Melissa Broughton on a GoFundMe.com page.

She had started a collection for his medical bills.

But Mr Nelson died on Friday night without regaining consciousness.

He leaves behind his parents, Tim and Linda, and two elder sisters.

Said Miles, who visited him the afternoon before he died: "It was so surreal and heartbreaking to see him lying there.

"We had ushered in 2015 together on the top of Marina Bay Sands and it just seemed like a cruel joke to wish him 'Happy New Year' in a coma in ICU just a year later."

She returned to the hospital that evening for a second visit, just hours before he died.

Mr Nelson, who was originally from Michigan in the US, came to Singapore in 2009.

Ms Rian Mansore, an assistant bar manager who used to work at Mogambo where Mr Nelson was a regular, described him as a polite patron who was "never rowdy and always sang along with the live band".

He would visit the bar with his colleagues from the Waterworld @ USS live show, and they often had theme parties.

She said: "From birthday parties to Halloween, he never failed to dress up (if it was a costume party). I can't remember exactly (when), but I remember he once dressed up as a gladiator."

In a statement, Mr Nelson's employers, Amphibian Stunts, who produce and manage the Waterworld @ USS live show, said he had been with the company for six years.

Managing director and executive producer Peter Nelson said: "We at Amphibian Stunts are grieving the loss of our dear friend and colleague."

Mr Nelson's body was cremated on Sunday afternoon.

A US Embassy spokesman said their staff members were providing all possible consular assistance.

"Out of respect for the privacy of the family, we have no further comment at this time," he said.

This article was first published on Dec 5, 2016.
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