MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – American Actor Paul Walker, best known for his role as undercover agent Brian O’Connor in the “Fast and the Furious” movie franchise, died in a car accident in California on Saturday, November 30.
Walker was killed when the red Porsche sports car he was traveling in slammed into a tree and caught fire around 3:30 pm (2330 GMT) on Saturday in the town of Santa Clarita, in Los Angeles county, local media reported.
Witnesses recognized Walker and one onlooker even tried to pull him from the wreckage, the local Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper reported.
US celebrity site TMZ first broke the news, then was later confirmed by representatives on his official Facebook page.
“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 (ROWW),” read the post.
“He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives.”
Representatives said they are “stunned and saddened beyond belief,” but thanked the public for keeping Walker’s family and friends in their prayers. They will keep the public informed on how to extend their condolences.
An investigation is ongoing.
Walker, 40, appeared in all but one of the six movies in the popular franchise, and was a leading protagonist along with Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez.
Walker had been at an event to raise money for victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Philippines for ROWW, a non-profit disaster relief group the actor founded.
ROWW has sent teams of experts to help in natural disasters such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and tornado-stricken towns in the United States.
Prior to the charity eveny, Walker, along with the cast of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, urged people to send in support for the Philippines.
“We’re reachin’ out to the fans, we love Manila, we were there last year, we were received with open arms, we love the Philippines. Fans, we wanna rally you up. It’s better to be armed and ready, let’s start sendin’ in some aid. ‘Preciate it,” he said.
Watch the ‘Fast and the Furious’ cast Yolanda/Haiyan video here:
“The Fast and the Furious” co-star Vin Diesel posted a photo with Walker on Instagram.
“Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace,” read the post.
Another “Fast and Furious” co-star, Ludacris, wrote on Twitter: “Your humble spirit was felt from the start, 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.”
The late actor is survived by his 15-year-old daughter Meadow.
Walker was also set to star in the 2014 crime-action film “Brick Mansions,” a remake of the 2004 French movie District B13.
Before his “Fast and Furious” breakthrough Walker was a teen heartthrob, appearing in such movies as “Pleasantville” (1988), “She’s All That” and “Varsity Blues” (both 1999).
The first “Fast and Furious” movie appeared in 2001.
The series, with its focus on fast cars, tough guys, hot starlets and exotic locales, is one of Hollywood’s most lucrative global franchises. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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