Paul Walker, 40, has reportedly died after a car accident and explosion involving just one car in Santa Clarita in Southern California. The actor, who is mainly known for his role in the Fast and the Furious movie franchise, died on Saturday afternoon. His publicist, Ame Van Iden, has confirmed the tragic news, which was also reported on Walker’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
Paul Walker and another man were in Walker’s new red Porsche when the unidentified victim, who is reported to have been driving, lost control of the car and slammed violently into a tree, causing the car to burst into flames at the scene. The car was fully enveloped in flames by the time the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department responded. After extinguishing the flames, they found the bodies of two people inside.
Walker’s death came as he and an unidentified male were headed to a car show for Walker’s charity, REACH OUT Worldwide, to benefit the Philippines typhoon relief effort. Although witnesses claim that Walker was behind the wheel of the red Porsche before the accident, Walker’s Facebook page maintains that he was a passenger when the car hit a pole and then a tree. Early photographs from the scene show broken windows and a pile of twisted metal.
Paul Walker was from Glendale, California, and got his acting start in the late 1990’s with the movies Pleasantville and Varsity Blues. He also appeared in The Skulls and She’s All That before joining the Fast and the Furious in the role of Brian O’Connor in 2001. He also appeared as O’Connor in 2013’s Fast & Furious 6. The next chapter in the franchise, Fast & Furious 7, starring Walker, is planned to debut in 2014.
Due to the nature of his role in the fast and extreme street racing movies that make up the Fast & Furious franchise, Paul Walker’s death, usually due to a car accident, had in the past been reported erroneously a number of times on social media. This time, the report was no hoax.
By Saturday evening, celebrities, including Chris Daughtry, Marlee Matlin and Audrina Patridge, had taken to social media to express their condolences for Walker’s abrupt passing. On Walker’s own Twitter account, he describes himself as an “outdoorsman, ocean addict, adrenaline junkie … and I do some acting on the side.”
Walker, who made his home in Santa Barbara, California, shared his home with his dogs and recently, his daughter, Meadow, who had recently moved from Hawaii where she lived with her mother to California in order to live with Walker. Not only an avid surfer, he also held a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitusu. His first love was marine biology, which led him to fulfill a lifelong dream when he starred in the series Expedition Great White on the National Geographic Channel in 2010. As part of the expedition, he was able to spend 11 days living among a crew charged with catching and tagging great white sharks off of the coast of Mexico.
Charitable activities were an important part of Walker’s life. He flew to Chile in March 2010 to offer support to those injured in an earthquake. He also visited Haiti in 2010 with his own humanitarian aid team, REACH OUT Worldwide, in order to offer support after an earthquake.
An avid car enthusiast, Walker owned the Nissan Skyline that was featured in 2 Fast 2 Furious. He customized the car himself for the movie and performed many of his own stunts.