Paul Walker, best known for his starring role in The Fast and the Furious films, died on Saturday afternoon in a single-car accident and explosion in Southern California, according to TMZ. He was 40 years old.
TMZ reports that the actor was in a Porsche that was driving in Santa Clarita, CA, when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which hit either a post or a tree and then burst into flames. They also say that their sources, some of whom confirmed the situation from the scene of the accident, said that Walker and another person in the car were killed.
The story has been officially confirmed – see update below.
The California native was reportedly in Santa Clarita for a car show charity event put together by the charity he founded, Reach Out Worldwide; the event was to support the Philippines typhoon relief effort.
Sources close to Paul tell us he was in Santa Clarita for a car show to support the Philippines typhoon relief effort, and had been taking friends out for rides in his new Porsche GT. The accident happened during one of those test spins.
This story is still developing; we will update it as news comes in.
UPDATE: Paul Walker’s verified Twitter and Facebook accounts were just updated, confirming the news of the actor’s death.
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
Details regarding Walker’s death have not been officially confirmed yet.
Walker began his acting career in the 1980s when he had guest appearances on television series like television shows in 1985 Highway to Heaven and Who’s the Boss? In the 1990s, he made his way to the big screen with supporting roles in Pleasantville, Varsity Blues, and She’s All That before landing his breakout role in 2001’s street racing action film The Fast and the Furious, starring alongside Vin Diesel. It was then that Walker established himself as a headline name, with later roles in Joy Ride and and Timeline, as well as the profitable sequels to The Fast and the Furious. Director James Wan’s Fast & Furious 7, which began film in September 2013 and has a July 11, 2014 release date, is now Walker’s final film. It’s unclear how much of the film Walker completed, or what the filmmakers will do in light of Walker’s tragic passing.
Along with being actor, Walker was also philanthropist who founded in 2010 the charity organization REACH OUT Worldwide following the earthquake catastrophe in Haiti to offer help to people affected by natural disasters. He also had a passion for marine biology, starring in the National Geographic Channel 2010 series Expedition Great White, and was an advocate for shark conservation. At the time of his death, he was in Santa Clarita, CA for in a car show to support the Philippines typhoon relief effort.
UPDATE: TMZ interviewed one of Walker’s friends, who had arrived to the scene of the accident along with several other people, all of whom were trying to put out the car fire with handheld extinguishers before firefighters arrived. The friend confirmed that Walker was in the passenger’s seat, and was unconscious when people arrived. Video of the interview here below.
According to TMZ, the driver of car was 38-year-old Roger Rodas, Walker’s friend and business partner, and that according to police, speed was a factor in the accident.
RIP Paul Walker
September 12, 1973 – November 30, 2013