A statement from his official Facebook page says Walker was attending a charity event when the accident happened. Both he and his friend behind the wheel, Roger Rodas, lost their lives.
Walker was in a new Porsche GT when the single-car accident happened. The car reportedly burst into flames, with one of Walker’s friends telling the local newspaper they “went through fire extinguishers” in a futile bid to fight the blaze. “We tried, we tried,” Antonio Holmes told the Santa Clarita Signal.
Walker was the passenger in the car; AM radio station KHTS reports Roger Rodas, the CEO of Walker’s company Always Evolving, was the driver and the car’s owner and died as well. Walker reportedly owned a pair of high-performance car companies in Valencia.
Walker was in the area, just north of Los Angeles, for a car show and toy drive set up through his charity, Reach Out WorldWide. In 2010, he flew to Chile to help those injured in the 8.8 magnitude earthquake and earlier was involved in the effort to assist survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.
Walker was reprising his role as Brian O’Conner in Universal’s Fast & Furious 7 for director James Wan. The movie had recently begun filming in Atlanta and was set to move to Abu Dhabi in January, but was on a break from shooting for the Thanksgiving holiday. The seventh film in the blockbuster action franchise has been slotted to hit theaters July 11.
The blue-eyed Walker, who described himself on his Twitter page as an “adrenaline junkie,” did many stunts in the Fast and the Furious movies himself. He starred in a 2010 National Geographic Channel series Expedition Great White, on which he spent 11 days as part of the crew, catching and tagging great white sharks off the coast of Mexico. His hobbies included rifle-shooting and archery.
Walker’s official Facebook fan page posted a statement just after 7 p.m. Saturday:
“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. – #TeamPW”
Universal issued a statement at around 7:45 p.m.:
“All of us at Universal are heartbroken. 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 and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.”
A statement from Relativity president Tucker Tooley echoed the sentiment:
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Paul Walker. Paul was an incredibly talented artist, devoted philanthropist and friend. Our hearts go out to his family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Vin Diesel, Walker’s Fast and Furious co-star, was one of many co-workers and contemporaries who took to Twitter to express grief:
“Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”