The internet was abuzz Saturday with conflicting reports that actor Paul Walker had died in a fiery car crash. The likable 40-year-old thespian who appeared in films such as Joy Ride and The Fast and the Furious, an action film about illegal street racing, is reported by TMZ and ABC, among other reputable outlets, to have perished in a traffic collision at 3:30 p.m. today in Valencia, California while riding as a passenger in a car driven by a friend, Roger Rodas, CEO of Always Evolving (a car customization shop in Santa Clarita), following a charity event for Reach Out Worldwide. Both men died in the single car accident and excessive speeding appears to have played a factor in the crash.
Although other outlets claimed reports of Walker’s demise was merely the latest in a series of hoaxes about bizarre celebrity deaths, the actor’s official Facebook page soon posted the following note:
“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.”
Walker began his acting career as a young man in TV commercials and series such as Charles in Charge, Who’s the Boss and The Young and the Restless. He went on to appear in feature films such as the 1998 satire Pleasantville followed the next year by the football drama Varsity Blues and three years later in the first Fast and the Furious film. He’d eventually appear in all but one of the race car thrillers and had just begun filming the seventh installment in the popular franchise.
The L.A. Times reports investigators are looking into whether speed played a role in the accident. Walker, who developed an extensive gay fan base due to his photogenic good looks and appealing screen persona, is survived by a 15-year-old daughter named Meadow.
Soon after news of Walker’s death was confirmed, other celebrities tweeted their shocked reactions.
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) December 1, 2013
— James Franco (@JamesFrancoTV) December 1, 2013
Once, literally, bumped into Paul Walker at our mutual agent’s office. His beauty stunned me. I gasped. It was obvious. We had to laugh. RIP
— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) December 1, 2013
What horrible news #PaulWalker prayers go out to his family. You just never know…. Cherish each breath, it’s a gift
— LeAnn Rimes Cibrian (@leannrimes) December 1, 2013