Kylie "Buffy" Tanti made no sound as she plummeted to her death during a practice BASE jump from Malaysia's second-highest tower, say witnesses.

A post on her Facebook profile quotes a tattoo on her arm: "One day, death is going to take the life from everything we love. So while you are able love what you have."

Her close friend says the tattoo is "absolutely" reflective of Ms Tanti's "mad passion" for everything she did.

"I don't know anyone else with an attitude even remotely close to hers," he said.

The 42-year-old from Pheasants Nest, in the NSW Southern Highlands, must have known something had gone terribly wrong in the few seconds it took to make the jump yesterday.

Her only parachute - many BASE jumpers do not carry reserve chutes - became tangled around a small camera mounted on her helmet, a friend and fellow-BASE jumper, Gary Cunningham, said.

She managed to free it - but it was too late in the 165-metre fall.

"Although her parachute failed to open, I did not hear her scream or shout for help," one witness, Mohamad Zaidi Zainal Abidin, 41, told Malaysian news site The Star Online.

To the horror of onlookers, including members of the group she was training with, Ms Tanti hit the ground.

She was taken to hospital but pronounced dead there.

Friends in Sydney today mourned the loss of their "fearless" and "larger than life" friend but refused to criticise Ms Tanti's participation in a sport often considered too extreme even for skydivers.

"Not enough people die chasing a dream," said one close friend, who asked not be named.

"Although it's a really harsh thing to say not many people follow their dreams enough and she personally inspired many people to do that."

Glimpses of this attitude are strewn all over the internet, on various skydiving, BASE jumping, roller derby and social media sites.

The Macarthur Area Roller Derby community, south of Sydney, was also grieving today.

MARD president Melissa "Ferritocious Fury" Henderson praised Ms Tanti, known as "Buffy" in roller derby circles, as a fearless and inspirational woman.

"Strong and loving in every way," Ms Henderson said.

"She has been a magnificent part of MARD and will be missed by all our girls. She was afraid of nothing.

"Her compassion for others was outstanding and [she] would always lend an ear when needed."

BASE jumping refers to the sport of diving off fixed objects with a parachute. The acronym stands for buildings, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs).

It is a controversial member of the extreme sport family, viewed by many extreme sport enthusiasts as wantonly reckless.

"It was something she was madly passionate for," her close friend said.

"It lets you live in the moment, you don't think about anything in the future or the past, it's just then and there.

"[Kylie] didn't mind that her friends weren't open-minded enough to appreciate it."

Another of Ms Tanti's friends, who also asked not to be named, said she had taken up BASE jumping in the past year or so.

Before that she was a keen skydiver and was considered one of the first women to take up skysurfing - skydiving on a board - in Australia.

"She was a world champion skydiver for skysurfing in the 1990s and that takes a lot of work," her close friend said.

The other friend said Ms Tanti was a true character.

"She would call a spade an effin' spade because that's what it actually is," he said.

"If someone deserved a piece of her mind she wouldn't hesitate to give them one."

Ms Tanti had a partner and lived on a 20 hectare property in Pheasants Nest, south of Picton, where she often sky-dived.

"The public transport in that area wasn't very good so she would call Campbelltown police for a lift home because 'you buggers took my licence off me' and very often they would comply," the friend said.

The Alor Setar Tower in the northern town of Alor Setar is the second tallest in Malaysia.

It has been closed for maintenance since August, The Star Online reported.