Paul Walker, star of the hit “ The Fast and the Furious” franchise died Saturday afternoon in a car crash that took place in Valencia, CA. Paul Walker’s publicist, Ame Van Iden, confirmed the tragic news.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
Paul Walker began his acting career as a child starring in commercials. In the late 1990s he had several minor hits under his belt with “Varsity Blues” and “She’s All That,” but he shot to stardom as undercover officer Brian O’Conner in 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious.” The movie was a box-office success and spawned six sequels, the last of which Paul Walker had finished filming earlier this fall.
While exact details of the accident are still under investigation, it is believed that Paul Walker’s friend lost control of his red Porsche about 3:30 p.m. and hit either a light pole or a tree about 300 yards from the event they had attended. When firefighters arrived on the scene, the car was engulfed in flames. There is no word on whether or not Paul Walker and his friend died in the initial crash or the ensuing fire, but both men were pronounced dead on arrival.
Hollywood reacted swiftly, releasing heartfelt statements via social media over the shock of Paul Walker’s untimely death. Vin Diesel, his co-star in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise took to Instagram, posting a picture of the duo with the caption, “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new angel. Rest in Peace.”
Universal Studios released a statement as well, saying, “Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the “Fast and Furious” films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest condolences to Paul's family.”
Paul Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow. He was only 40.