Actor Paul Walker dies in car crash
Actor Paul Walker, who starred in the Fast And The Furious movie series, has died in a car crash near Los Angeles. He was 40.
Publicist Ame Van Iden says Walker died yesterday afternoon. No further details were released.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's department said two people were killed in a car crash.
Witnesses told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal that the actor was behind the wheels of a red Porsche. Photos from the scene show a pile of twisted metal and broken windows.
Walker was working on the latest Fast And The Furious film at the time of his death.
He also starred in the suspense drama Hours, a film that is set for release this month.
A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organisation Reach Out Worldwide.
"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that deputies found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision in the community of Valencia.
" When they arrived, deputies found the vehicle engulfed in flames. The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded, extinguished the fire and subsequently located two victims inside the vehicle. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
" The cause of the collision is under investigation by traffic investigators with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
"The Office of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner will determine the identities and the cause of death of the victims."
Walker rode the Fast And The Furious franchise to stardom, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001.
The blond-haired, blue-eyed Los Angeles-native brought California surfer good-looks and an easy, warm charm to the popular street-racing series.
"All of us at Universal are heartbroken," Universal Pictures said in a statement.
"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."
The son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, Walker grew up in a working class, Mormon Los Angeles household.
The oldest of five siblings, Walker's mother began taking him to auditions as a toddler. He was a child model from the age of two.
After a string of TV roles as a child in the 1980s, Walker made his feature film debut in the 1998 comedy Meet The Deedles.
Supporting roles in the films Pleasantville, Varsity Blues and She's All That followed.
His performance in the 2000 thriller The Skulls caught the eye of producer Neal H Moritz, who cast him in The Fast And The Furious as undercover police officer Brian O'Conner.
Adapted from a Vibe magazine article about underground street races, the film became an unexpected hit.
In the sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Walker moved to centre stage with his co-star Vin Diesel momentarily dropping out. Walker, a self-described "gearhead," kept his character's sports car from the film.
Released in May, the sixth instalment in the franchise was the most lucrative of them all, grossing more than 788 million dollars (£480 million) worldwide.
The seventh in the series began shooting in September, with a release planned for July.
"Your humble spirit was felt from the start," said Ludacris, Walker's Fast And The Furious co-star, on Twitter. "Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers."
Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.