Paul Walker, the lead of the famous Fast and Furious series, died Saturday along with his friend Roger Rodas after the Porsche Rodas was driving in struck a light pole in Valencia, California.
Universal Pictures, the studio behind the franchise, joined actors, directors, and other industry figures in lamenting Walker and Rodas’ deaths over press statements and social media. The studio’s remarks, as reported by Variety, included the following:
“All of us at Universal are heartbroken…Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the ‘Fast and Furious’ films, and to countless fans.”
Walker’s Facebook page confirmed that actor’s passing and included details about what transpired. Apparently, he was the passenger in a car driven by Rodas, his friend and financial advisor, after an event for Reach Out Worldwide, a charity founded by Walker. It has been reported that authorities responded to the crash at about 3:30 p.m. PT and found the car engulfed in flames. Both Walker and Rodas were pronounced dead at the scene. Additionally, the vehicle’s speed was factor in the accident.
Walker was born in Glendale, California on September 12, 1973. He started his acting career early in his life, appearing in commercials and 1980’s TV shows such as Who’s The Boss and Charles in Charge. His roles in Pleasantville and Varsity Blues provided him with notoriety and praise, but his performance 2001’s The Fast and Furious elevated him to stardom. Walker reprised the role of Brian O’Conner in all but one of the Fast and Furious films. Before his death, the actor was scheduled to appear in several films, including the seventh entry in the Fast and Furious franchise, which will now likely be delayed. He was 40.
All of us here at One of Us would like to express our condolences to Walker and Rodas’ families. It is especially tragic that both men died returning from an event for charity. However, that is a testament to who these men were. Walker founded Reach Out Worldwide after serving as a relief volunteer helping Haitian citizens affected by the devastating 2010 earthquake. After witnessing deficiencies in resource-distribution systems firsthand, the actor decided to be proactive and started a non-profit dedicating to increasing efficiency in relief services in post-disaster areas. Rodas’ involvement with the organization demonstrates that this was also a priority to him as well. The world can scarce afford to lose the few truly good people it has and sadly, two of them are now gone.
Rest in peace, gentlemen.