A SOUTHAMPTON university lecturer has plunged to his death while doing a daring wingsuit jump.

Angelo Niko Grubišić, who was also a jet suit pilot for Gravity Industries, performed at last year’s Bournemouth Air Festival where he took off from the pier in a jet pack and flew across the seafront.

Described as a “phenomenally talented man”, Mr Grubišić was a lecturer in astronautics at the University of Southampton.

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He was the leader of Project Icarus, a programme which aims to develop the world’s first scientifically engineered wingsuit to set world records for human flight.

According to a tribute posted by friends and family on his Facebook page, the 38-year-old scientist died while practising the extreme sport in Saudi Arabia.

They said: “Angelo lost his life doing what he loved the most, wingsuit base jumping, and we want to ensure his achievements and ambitions are known to the world and to celebrate the mark he made on all of our lives.

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“Angelo captivated the hearts and minds of every single person who was privileged to meet and work with him. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long has never rung truer to the family and friends Angelo had across the world.

“We want to ensure that everyone celebrates Angelo’s life and applauds his phenomenal achievements - including how loved and cared for he was by family, friends and acquaintances across the globe.”

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A University of Southampton spokesman said:"We are extremely saddened and shocked by the death of Angelo and our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.

“Angelo made many pioneering contributions to the University’s research into astronautics and was incredibly popular with his students and colleagues.

“We will remain in contact with his family and are supporting staff and students affected."

Bournemouth Air Festival Patrons Club also paid tribute to Mr Grubišić, posting on its Facebook page “BAF Patrons were delighted to meet him and the team last year. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. very sad news indeed.”

Mr Grubišić gained his PHD in electric propulsion and all-electric spacecraft from Southampton University.

During his career, he spent time working as a research scientist at NASA’s propulsion lab in California.

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He went on to found his own company, Flux Engineering, and was the chief flight instructor for Gravity Industries, holding the altitude and speed record in a jet suit without wings.

Mr Grubišić had been a lecturer in astronautics at Southampton University for more than six years.

Last year the adrenaline junky got into trouble at the Bournemouth Air Festival when his jetpack burst into flames.

He was sent spinning into after launching himself from the pier in the seaside city.

His colleague, pilot Richard Browning was forced to ditch into the water during the same event.