Paul Walker, best known as the star of the Fast & Furious film franchise, died Saturday afternoon in a single-car accident in Santa Clarita, California.
The Porsche that the 40-year-old actor was riding in reportedly went out of control, collided with a tree, and subsequently burst into flames, killing both Walker and his friend behind the wheel, Roger Rodas.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff has stated that speed was likely a factor in the crash, according to multiple reports, but is still investigating the accident.
Walker’s death was confirmed by his team on his official Twitter and Facebook accounts. Below is the Facebook post in full (you can see the original by clicking the link).
It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives.
We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences.
The Associated Press is reporting that Walker’s death was also confirmed by his publicist, Ame Van Iden. TMZ initially reported the story.
Local newspaper the Santa Clarita Valley Signal has posted images from the accident scene on their website.
Walker was currently in production on the seventh Fast & Furious movie, reprising his role of Brian O’Conner. The film is scheduled to hit theaters on July 11, 2014.
At the time of his death, he had two other films yet to be released: the Hurricane Katrina-set drama Hours, set for a December 13 release, and Brick Mansions, which is reported to arrive in May 2014. At this early hour, it’s unknown what effect his passing will have on either of those movies or Fast & Furious 7.
Aside from the blockbuster franchise, the actor’s other widely known feature film roles include 1999’s Varsity Blues, 2001’s Joy Ride, 2006’s Running Scared and 2010’s Takers.
He also lived an active life off-camera. Walker appeared as himself in the National Geographic Channel documentary series Expedition Great White in 2010, spending eleven days as part of a team studying great white sharks in Mexico; he had previously studied marine biology in college. He was also an auto enthusiast and surfer.
Perhaps most importantly, he was well known for his humanitarian efforts. Walker co-founded the non-profit organization Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), and traveled with ROWW relief teams to offer hands-on help to victims of various catastrophes, such as the Chile earthquake of March 2010 and the Alabama tornado in April 2011. You can see various photos of Walker working with ROWW on their website.
He leaves behind one daughter, Meadow. We extend our condolences to her and to all of Paul Walker and Roger Rodas’s loved ones during this difficult time.
Reaction to Walker’s death has begun to pour in via social media. Top Gear co-host and rally car champion Tanner Foust – who served as a stunt driver on 2009’s Fast & Furious – commented via Facebook, “We are all worse off without this guy around. Straight up one of the most genuine and generous car guys in the film biz. Sad day.”
Said Jason O’Mara, currently guest-starring on CBS’s The Good Wife, via Twitter: “Shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Paul Walker…He did an incredible amount of hands-on charity work. A good person. RIP.”
Perception star Rachael Leigh Cook, who worked with Walker in 1999’s She’s All That, tweeted “Paul was a truly good person in a town of questionable characters…A real life tragedy if there ever was one.”
This story is still developing.
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