Neville Campbell, 20, fell to the ground and landed on his head during a "Wheel of Death" act at Blackpool Tower Circus on Boxing Day.
A close family friend today described him as "very talented" and "a bit of a daredevil".
A circus expert also defended the aerial act which claimed Mr Campbell's life as being safer than a motorway drive.
Mr Campbell, one of the Campbell Kids act, had been performing stunts with his Australian partner on two giant hamster wheels suspended high above the ring.The apparatus was descending at the end of the performance when he slipped and fell. Police and health and safety experts are investigating the accident.
Blackpool Tower manager Steve Brailey, who witnessed the accident, said: "It was in the last 30 seconds of the act. He appeared to slip and fall through the centre portion and landed on his head on the ring floor. It is an accident that 99 times out of 100 would not be critical."