Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise “Fast & Furious,” died Saturday in a car crash in Southern California. He was 40.
Walker’s publicist Ame van Iden confirmed his death, but said she could not elaborate beyond statements posted on Walker’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Walker was a passenger in a friend’s car and both were attending a charity event for his organization, Reach Out Worldwide, in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood.
The website for the charity said the Saturday event was intended to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
The crash took place about 3:30 p.m., about 300 yards from the office park where the event was held.
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, citing a sheriff’s deputy at the scene, said a red Porsche appeared to have lost control.
Deputies arrived at the scene to find a vehicle on fire, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.
Once fire crews put the flames out, they found two occupants, both of whom were pronounced dead at the scene.
Saturday evening, all that remained was the burnt mangled metal of the car and a light pole that had been knocked down.
Along with Vin Diesel, the 40-year-old Walker has been one of the stalwarts of the “Fast & Furious” movie series, characterized by its racing scenes and attractive cast.
The box-office success of the first film in 2001 fueled sequels. The series’ sixth installment came out earlier this year, topping the Memorial Day weekend box office.
At the time of his death, Walker was working on the seventh film of the franchise, with a scheduled release date of 2014.
On his verified Twitter account, Walker described himself as “outdoorsman, ocean addict, adrenaline junkie … and I do some acting on the side.”
Walker also is the star of “Hours,” an independent film scheduled to be released December 13 about a father struggling to keep his newborn infant alive in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Twitter and other social media exploded with reactions to Walker’s death.
“Completely numb and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Paul Walker,” wrote one posted “Wow.”
Hollywood condolences came from Will Smith, Jack Osbourne, DMX and others.
“No, @RealPaulWalker. No. No. No,” tweeted Alyssa Milano. “Rest with the angels. You. Sweet boy. #beauty #love #RIP.”