'Fast & Furious' star Paul Walker dead at 40

By Editor

Nov 30, 2013 11:44 PM EST

Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise "Fast & Furious,"  and a passenger died Saturday after his vehicle crashed into a tree, in a car crash in Southern California. He was 40. 

Walker's publicist Ame van Iden confirmed his death to CNN, but said she could not elaborate beyond statements posted on Walker's official Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The accident occurred in Santa Clarita - outside of Los Angeles - when Walker's Porsche apparently lost control and crashed into a tree, TMZ reported. The car burst into flames and exploded.

Walker was a passenger in a friend's car and both were headed to a charity event for his organization, Reach Out Worldwide, according to a statement posted on his Facebook page. The website for the charity indicated there was an event in Southern California on Saturday to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement that there had been a car accident involving two fatalities in Valencia, a community in the city of Santa Clarita, at about 3:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET).

When deputies arrived, they found the vehicle engulfed in flames. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.

The office did not provide the identities of the dead, and said the cause was under investigation.

Walker, born Paul William Walker IV in Glendale, California September 12, 1973, started acting in his teens. 

He appeared in a series of TV shows, usually playing the hunk or lunk, in shows like "Charles in Charge," "Highway to Heaven," "Touched by an Angel," "Who's the Boss?" and "Diff'rent Strokes."

In 1992, he won a recurring role on CBS' "The Young and the Restless" and briefly became a daytime heart throb playing Brandon Collins.

His movie career took off in 2001 when he was cast in the first "Fast and Furious" movie. He played Brian O'Conner.

That same year, PEOPLE Magazine took note, naming the blond, blue-eyed 6'2" actor one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in the world.

The "Fast and Furious" franchise spawned six sequels with "Fast & Furious 7″ currently filming. (That movie is due out July 2014, according to the imdb.com) and it is unclear if Walker had completed his work on the film.

While Walker made a relatively low $1 million (by film standards) for starring in the first "F&F" by the third one his salary was upped to more than $7 million per picture.

The actor's next film, "Hours,"  a drama about Hurricane Katrina, is due out Dec. 13.

Walker's other credits included "Varsity Blues," "Into the Blue," "Flags of Our Fathers," "Eight Below" and "Joy Ride."

Walker reportedly had two homes - one in Huntington Beach and another in Santa Barbara. He reportedly housed several pricey cars in a garage/ car shop in Santa Clarita known as "Always Evolving."

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