Pop Culture

Speed considered a factor in death of 'Fast and Furious' actor Paul Walker

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department investigators said early Sunday that “speed was a factor” in the single-car collision that took the life of actor Paul Walker and friend Roger Rodas over the weekend.

The pair's 2005 Porsche Carrera GT was "engulfed in flames" when deputies arrived at the scene in Valencia, Calif., at around 3:30 p.m. PT (6:30 p.m. ET). Two occupants were later pronounced dead. 

Walker's representative Ame Van Iden and a law-enforcement source both confirmed to NBC News that the 40-year-old actor was among the victims. NBC Sports confirmed that the other victim was Rodas, 38, CEO of an auto-performance shop and a driver in the Pirelli World Challenge series.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported that the Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames.

Today
A police officer at the scene of the crash which killed actor Paul Walker and a friend on Saturday.

post on Walker's Facebook page said the collision occurred after the actor attended a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide and that he was a passenger in the car at the time. 

"We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the post added. 

The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the "Fast & Furious" star was on Thanksgiving hiatus from filming the latest installment of the film franchise.

An official with the Los Angeles County coroner's office told NBC News that both bodies recovered from the scene had been burned beyond recognition and that it would take days — or potentially longer — for identification to be formalized.

Today
Actor Paul Walker was one of the two people killed in this crash Saturday in Valencia, Calif.

Walker is survived by his daughter, Meadow Rain, who just turned 15.

Walker's "Fast & Furious" co-star, Vin Diesel, mourned his friend on Instagram, posting a photo of the two together. He wrote: "Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace."

Bill Townsend, CEO and founder of PacAirVentures, a developer of entertainment centers, posted a photo of himself taken with Walker just two hours before the accident. 

"He was surrounded by friends, talking about cars, seeing hundreds of gifts brought for kids to give out by charity," Townsend wrote on Walker's Facebook page. "The news is terribly sad. The world lost an angel and Heaven gained one. I'm going to commit to helping ensure (that) Paul's charity lives on and that his love of cars and people, especially children, will be remembered forever."

Walker co-founded Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 to aid those affected by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti and was working to help victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. 

“I’m a doer, and whether it was the tsunami in Sri Lanka or the earthquake in Indonesia, I was always saying, I should be there; I should be helping out," Walker wrote on the organization's site. "We’re only on the Earth for a short period of time. I want to take my success and parlay it into something bigger and better. As a father, my hope and goal is to help create a sustainable organization that will endure for the benefit of future generations. You put goodwill out there, it’s amazing what can be accomplished."

On Nov. 22, Reach Out Worldwide released a YouTube video where Walker, standing with his "Fast & Furious" colleagues, urges fans to donate to Philippines relief. 

KNBC reported that hundreds of Walker's fans came to the crash site to mourn the actor. "Fast" co-star Tyrese Gibson also attended, carrying yellow flowers and crying.

Our+NBC+station+in+LA+reports+hundreds+of+Paul+Walker+fans+are+bringing+flowers+and+lighting+candles+at+crash+site.+pic.twitter.com/UfmM4ypZM1

—+Brandon+Bartlett+(@Brandon14News)+December+1,+2013+

A statement released late Saturday by Universal Pictures read: "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. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family."

NBC News and Universal Pictures are properties of NBCUniversal. 

The son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, Walker grew up the oldest of five siblings in a working-class Mormon household in Glendale, Calif. Walker's mother began taking him to auditions as a toddler.  

He apppeared in a Pampers ad when he was aged two. He had numerous small television and film roles before starring in 1998's "Meet the Deedles." He also appeared in "Pleasantville," "Varsity Blues," "She's All That," and "The Skulls."

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    Image: US actor Paul Walker dies

    Paul Walker: 1973 - 2013

    The star of the "Fast & Furious" film franchise died in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013. He was 40.

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    Actor Paul Walker, 40, was killed in a car accident on Nov. 30 in the Los Angeles area. In this photo, he posed for photographers while promoting the second film in the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise, "2 Fast 2 Furious," in 2003.

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    Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez, from the cast of "Fast & Furious" present the award for breakthrough performance at the MTV Movie Awards in Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Culver City, Calif., on April 14, 2013.

    Invision via AP / Invision via AP
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    Walker models Colcci's 2013/2014 summer collection during Sao Paulo Fashion Week on March 21, 2013.

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    Jordana Brewster and Walker are seen in a scene from 2013's "Fast & Furious 6."

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  • Image: Actors Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson pose at the world premiere of "Fast Five" in Rio

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    Walker and "Fast & Furious" co-stars Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson pose at the world premiere of "Fast Five" at the Cinepolis Lagoon theatre in Rio de Janeiro on April 15, 2011.

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    Walker and Diesel in a still from 'Fast & Furious 5' in 2011.

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    Walker attends a game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sept. 14, 2011.

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    Walker laughs during an interview with "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno on May 2, 2011.

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    Walker poses while promoting "Fast and Furious 5" in Rome on April 29, 2011.

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    Walker attends the "Fast & Furious 5" premiere at UGC Cinema in Rome on April 29, 2011.

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    Walker attends the premiere of "Fast & Furious" in Los Angeles on March 12, 2009.

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    Walker appears with host Vanessa Minnillo during MTV's "Total Request Live" show at the MTV Times Square Studios in New York on Feb. 14, 2006.

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  • Image: Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi and actor Paul Walker present award at 2005 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles.

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    Actress Zhang Ziyi and Walker present the award for Best Kiss at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles on June 4, 2005.

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    Tyrese Gibson and Walker, stars of "2 Fast 2 Furious," pose at the film's premiere in Los Angeles, on June 3, 2003.

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  • Image: VIN DIESEL AND PAUL WALKER AT 2002 MTV MOVIE AWARDS.

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    Diesel and Walker accept their award for Best On Screen Team for their roles in "The Fast & the Furious" during the 2002 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles on June 1, 2002.

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  • Image: PAUL WALKER PHOTOGRAPHS THE AUDIENCE AT HOLLYWOOD FILM FESTIVAL.

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    Walker photographs the audience for his mother, who was unable to attend the event, during the 5th Annual Hollywood Film Festival, on Aug. 6, 2001 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Walker was presented with the Breakthrough Male Performance Award.

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    In 2000, Walker starred with "Dawson's Creek" alum Joshua Jackson in "The Skulls," a thriller about a college secret society.

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But it was in 2001, when Walker was cast alongside Diesel in the first "Fast & Furious" street-racing movie, that he became a known star. He played an undercover LAPD officer, Brian O'Conner, whose knowledge of the car scene comes in handy as he interacts with Diesel's character. Walker would return for all of the sequels except for 2006's "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."

At the time of his death, Walker was working on "Fast & Furious 7," which would chronologically fall after the events of "Tokyo Drift." 

Other recent film appearances included the 2006 live-action Disney film, "Eight Below" and the 2010 crime drama "Takers."

The day before he died, Walker tweeted a photo of himself with Diesel and Gibson and expressed his excitement about the upcoming film.

The+boys+are+back.+Will+you+be+ready?+-+#TeamPW+#FastFridays+(Photo+Credit:+http://t.co/kkce2shzvM)+pic.twitter.com/RDnrDBGs2n

—+Paul+Walker+(@RealPaulWalker)+November+30,+2013+

"Fast & Furious 7" had been set for release in July 2014, but Walker's death leaves that film's future uncertain.

Walker also stars in "Hours," a film about a father struggling to keep his newborn alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That film is scheduled to be released in two weeks. Studio executives behind that film told The Hollywood Reporter they would go forward with a planned Dec. 13 release. 

He also appears in "Brick Mansions," a remake of the French action film "District B13" in post-production that Relativity plans to release next year.

"Paul was an incredibly talent artist, devoted philanthropist and friend," Relativity President Tucker Tooley said in a statement.

NBC News' Andrew Blankstein, Jason Cumming and Justin Kirschner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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    Walker was attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide in Valencia, Calif. A Porsche he was riding in hit a light pole and tree and burst into flames. The crash also killed Walker's friend, Roger Rodas, 38.

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    Redferns via Getty Images / Redferns via Getty Images
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    Storm Thorgerson, the Engish album-cover designer most famous for his iconic work with Pink Floyd, died April 18 after battling cancer, his family announced. He was 69. His most famous work was the rainbow-prism design for "Dark Side of the Moon."

    AP file / AP file
  • The Hollywood Show

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    Richard LeParmentier -

    Actor Richard LeParmentier famously played the character who was choked by Darth Vader in the original "Star Wars." He died April 15 at age 66.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: File photo of The Deftones posing backstage before headlining X-treme Radio's "Our Big Concert 6," a day-long music festival at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas

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    Chi Cheng, far right, bassist for the alternative metal band The Deftones, died April 13, four years after a car accident left him in a coma. He was 42.

    Reuters / Reuters
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    Comic Jonathan Winters, seen here in his role on "Mork and Mindy," influenced a generation of comedians. He died April 11 at age 87.

    Everett Collection / Everett Collection
  • Image: Annette Funicello dies at 70

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    Beloved Mouseketeer, singer, and "Beach Party" star Annette Funicello died at age 70 of complications due to multiple sclerosis on April 8.

    Disney via EPA / Disney via EPA
  • Image: PULITZER

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    Designer Lilly Pulitzer, known for her colorful fashions, died at age 81 on April 7.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Roger Ebert

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    Roger Ebert -

    Roger Ebert, who popularized film criticism in print and on television for decades, died on April 4, 2013, at age 70. The longtime Chicago Sun-Times critic was well known his "thumbs up/thumbs down" reviews and was the author of more than 20 books.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: FILE - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Dies At 85

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    Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a novelist and Academy Award winning screenwriter who worked with the Merchant-Ivory filmmaking team, died April 3. She was 85.

    Getty Images  / Getty Images
  • Image: Jim Hensen Muppet Characters Donated To Smithsonian

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    Jane Henson,ex-wife of the late puppeteer Jim Henson, died April 2 at age 78.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Phil Ramone

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    Music producer Phil Ramone, 72, died on March 30. Ramone was a 14-time Grammy winner once dubbed the "Pope of Pop."

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Image: File photo of British actor Richard Griffiths posing for photographers at "The South Bank Show Awards" at the Dorchester Hotel in London

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    British actor Richard Griffiths, best known for his roles in "Withnail and I" and the Harry Potter films died March 28 at age 65. He played Harry Potter's uncle Vernon Dursley in the "Potter" films.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: FILE: Peter Banks, Guitarist for the band Yes, Dies at Age 65

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    Peter Banks, left, the original guitarist for the band Yes, died at age 65 on March 7. Banks performed with Yes on their first two albums. After parting with Yes, Banks formed two other bands and had a solo career. From left, band members in the photo are Banks, Tony Kaye, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford and Jon Anderson.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: FILE - Guitarist Alvin Lee Dies At Age 68 Photo of TEN YEARS AFTER and Alvin LEE

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    Alvin Lee -

    Guitarist Alvin Lee, founder of the band Ten Years After, died on March 6 at age 68. Ten Years After came to prominence after performing at Woodstock in 1969. Lee left the band to embark on a successful solo career in 1975.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: William Moody, known as WWE Manager Paul Bearer, is pictured in this undated handout photo

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    Paul Bearer -

    William Moody, known as WWE manager Paul Bearer, died on March 5 at age 58.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Headshot of Bonnie Franklin

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    Bonnie Franklin -

    Bonnie Franklin, best known for starring as divorced mother of two Ann Romano on "One Day at a Time," died March 1 at age 69. She had pancreatic cancer.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Clive Burr -

    Former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr died March 12 at age 56.

    Redferns via Getty Images / Redferns via Getty Images
  • Image: File photograph of Bobby Rogers at the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in Hollywood

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    Bobby Rogers, a founding member of the Miracles singing group, died on March 3 at age 73.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: FILE - Actor Dale Robertson Dies Aged 89

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    Actor Dale Robertson, best remembered for his portrayal of Jim Hardie in the TV series "Tales of Wells Fargo," died of lung cancer and pneumonia on Feb. 28. He was 89.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: (FILE) American Classical Pianist Van Cliburn Dies At 78 Van Cliburn

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    Van Cliburn -

    Classical pianist Van Cliburn died Feb. 27 at age 78. The music legend became famous in 1958 at the young age of 23 when he won an international piano competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, returning home to a parade in his honor and the beginning of five decades of fame.

    Getty Images  / Getty Images
  • Dan Toler

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    Onetime Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dan Toler died on Feb. 25 of Lou Gehrig's disease. He was in his 60s, and was a member of the band from 1979-1982.

    Redferns via Getty Images / Redferns via Getty Images
  • Image:

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    Cleotha Staples, a founding member of the beloved Chicago soul group the Staple Singers, died Feb. 21 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. She was 78.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Jazz A Vienne 2012

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    Magic Slim -

    Blues guitarist Magic Slim died Feb. 21 at age 75. He helepd define the sound of post-war electric blues in Chicago.

    Redferns via Getty Images / Redferns via Getty Images
  • Image: The Temptations

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    Richard Street, Otis 'Damon' Harris -

    Two members of The Temptations died in February. Singer Richard Street, far left, died on Feb. 27 at age 70, and Otis "Damon" Harris, far fight, died on Feb. 18 at age 62.

    Redferns / Redferns
  • A Different World

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    Lou Myers -

    Lou Myers, who played Vernon Gaines on "Cosby Show" spinoff "A Different World," died on Feb. 20 at age 76.

    NBC via Getty Images / NBC via Getty Images
  • File photo of country music singer Mindy McCready in Hollywood

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    Mindy McCready -

    Country music singer Mindy McCready died on Feb. 17 at age 37 from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. She had struggled with numerous issues and is believed to have made four suicide attempts over the past seven years.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Tony Sheridan

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    Tony Sheridan -

    Singer Tony Sheridan, who helped the Beatles get their start by using them as his backup band, died Feb. 16 at age 72. He was the only non-Beatle to appear as lead singer on a Beatles recording that charted as a single, singing on "My BonnieThe Saints."

    Redferns via Getty Images / Redferns via Getty Images
  • Image: (FILE) The Dave Clark Five Bassist Rick Huxley Dies Aged 72

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    Rick Huxley -

    Rick Huxley, the bass player and co-founding member of the 1960s pop group the Dave Clark Five, died Feb. 11 at age 72. Huxley, a heavy smoker, had battled emphysema for years.

    Getty Images  / Getty Images
  • Image: FILE - Reg Presley of The Troggs Dies Aged 71 Photo of Reg PRESLEY and TROGGS

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    Reg Presley -

    Reg Presley, lead singer of British rock band The Troggs whose raucous "Wild Thing" topped the charts in 1966, died Feb. 4 at age 71.

    Getty Images  / Getty Images
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    Donald Byrd -

    Donald Byrd, an influential jazz trumpet player and bandleader, died on Feb. 4 at age 80. His recordings have been sampled by rappers and producers, popping up in more than 100 hip-hop tracks.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Conrad Bain -

    Actor Conrad Bain, perhaps best known for his role as kindly millionaire Phillip Drummond on "Diff'rent Strokes," died Jan. 14 at age 89. He also played a memorable role on "Maude."

    Everett Collection / Everett Collection
  • Photo of Patti Page

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    Patti Page -

    Singer Patti Page, whose smooth alto voice made hits of "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?", "Tennessee Waltz" and "Old Cape Cod," died on Jan. 1 at age 85.

    Getty Images / Getty Images




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