bc-090327-shane-mcconkey-cp-FULL

Extreme skier Shane McConkey performs the first-ever urban ski BASE jump off the roof of the Silver Legacy hotel casino in downtown Reno, Nev., in November 2007. ((Reno Sparks Convention and Visitor's Authority))

Extreme skier Shane McConkey, 39, died on Thursday after jumping off a cliff with a parachute while filming a movie in Italy .

The Vancouver-born skier was in Corvara, Italy, on a ski-BASE jump when he had a mid-air malfunction, his sponsor Red Bull said in a statement.

After he did a double-backflip off the cliff, one of McConkey's skis failed to release from his boots as planned, causing him to start spinning in the air, according to reports.

Italian emergency responders arrived within minutes and pronounced him dead at the scene, according to the sponsor.

"Shane loved life and innovated in both sport worlds he touched, skiing and BASE Jumping," Red Bull spokesman Patrice Radden said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the sport he pioneered also carries inherent risks."

McConkey founded the International Free Skiing Association and had grown popular in recent years for his BASE jumping competitions and big-mountain film exploits.

During his career, he won the IFSA world tour of freeskiing in 1996 and 1998, and finished second in the 1999 Winter X Games Skier X competition.

In 2001, Skiing Mag listed him as the top skier in North America, and Powder magazine readers voted him skier of the year three times.

McConkey lived and trained at Squaw Valley's Olympic Village south of Truckee, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Sherry, and three-year-old daughter, Ayla.

BASE jumping involves jumping off fixed objects, such as a cliff or a building, with a parachute.