“The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise star Paul Walker tragically died in a single-car accident in Santa Clarita on Saturday.
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Walker was 40 years old.
“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,” said a post on the actor’s verified Facebook page Saturday evening.
The Facebook post said Walker was the passenger in a friend’s vehicle at the time of the crash, but authorities have not confirmed that detail.
Deputies responded to the wreck about 3:30 p.m. in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
The vehicle was traveling eastbound, just west of Constellation Road, in the industrial park, when the driver lost control, apparently at a high rate of speed, said Sgt. Brian Allen of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
A car engulfed in flames was found and extinguished by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Authorities found two people inside the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT after the fire was put out, officials said.
A man who worked for one of two Valencia-based companies owned by the movie star said Walker was in the car with Roger Rodas, CEO of Always Evolving, a performance shop for high end vehicles.
The two victims were pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities said speed was a factor in the crash, but its cause is still under investigation.
“We just know that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed,” Allen said. “Between the skid marks and the damage to the vehicle, it appears as though the vehicle was traveling at a very significant
rate of speed.”
An official with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office told NBC News that both bodies recovered from the scene had been burned beyond recognition and that it would take days — or potentially longer -
“We smelled the smoke and then we didn’t pay much attention to it because of the fact that this street on Friday and Saturday nights, a lot of the guys come up here with their fast cars and drift around this corner here,” said Ruben Soto, who says he was nearby at the time of the crash.
“People drive too crazy, I heard rumors about them driving too fast and this business that had a broken window from concrete being thrown at the time of the crash,” said Wilson Rodriquez, a Santa Clarita resident who was at the scene Sunday morning.
Universal Studios released a statement Saturday evening mourning the loss of Walker.
“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,” the statement said.
Walker’s “Fast & Furious” co-star, Vin Diesel, shared a photo of the two on Instagram, writing, “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”
Rapper Ludacris, who starred in several “Fast & Furious” movies, posted a photo of the cast appearing to give thanks before a meal and posted his own thoughts. “Your humble spirit was felt from the start,” he wrote. “Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers & our birthdays are only 1 day apart, now You will forever hold a place in all of our hearts @paulwalker legacy will live on forever. R.I.P.”
Co-star Tyrese Gibson shared a photo of the two on Instagram and included his own heartfelt thoughts. “My heart is hurting so bad no one can make me believe this is real Father God I pray that you send clarity over this cause I just don’t understand. My heart hurts it’s broken no one can convince me that this is real…. Prayer warriors please pray real hard for his only child, his daughter and family..”
Walker is survived by his daughter, Meadow Rain Walker, who just turned 15.
A post on Walker’s Facebook page said the collision occurred after the actor attended a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide and that he was a passenger in a friend’s car at the time.
“We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news,” the post added.
Bill Townsend, CEO and founder of PacAirVentures, a developer of entertainment centers, posted a photo of himself taken with Walker just two hours before the accident.
“He was surrounded by friends, talking about cars, seeing hundreds of gifts brought for kids to give out by charity,” Townsend wrote on Walker’s Facebook page. “The news is terribly sad. The world lost an angel and Heaven gained one. I’m going to commit to helping ensure (that) Paul’s charity lives on and that his love of cars and people, especially children, will be remembered forever.”
Walker co-founded Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 to aid those affected by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti and was working to help victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines.
“I’m a doer, and whether it was the tsunami in Sri Lanka or the earthquake in Indonesia, I was always saying, I should be there; I should be helping out,” Walker wrote on the organization’s site. “We’re only on the Earth for a short period of time. I want to take my success and parlay it into something bigger and better. As a father, my hope and goal is to help create a sustainable organization that will endure for the benefit of future generations. You put goodwill out there, it’s amazing what can be accomplished.”
KNBC reported that hundreds of Walker’s fans came to the crash site to mourn the actor.
“If speed one day kills me, don’t be sad because I was smiling” said Walker in a past interview.
Information for this article is courtesy of Perry Smith, Today Entertainment and NBC News. Photographs courtesy of Today Entertainment, NBC News, Facebook and Jessica Boyer.
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Source: Santa Clarita News