It is with heavy hearts that we bring you this tragic news at the end of the holiday weekend -- 'Fast and Furious' star Paul Walker has passed away at the age of 40. Walker, who was working on 'Fast and Furious 7' with Vin Diesel and director James Wan, was killed in a car explosion in California on Saturday afternoon. 

Variety and TMZ are reporting that Walker was involved in a single-car accident and died in the resulting explosion this afternoon in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles. Walker was in a Porsche when the driver somehow lost control of the vehicle and slammed into either a post or a tree, causing the car to burst into flames.

Walker and an additional passenger were both killed in the tragic accident. TMZ also reports that the driver was Roger Rodas, the CEO of Always Evolving, Walker's high-performance motorworks company and racing team, which was located near the crash site. Rodas and Walker founded Reach Out Worldwide, a foundation created to aid countries suffering from major disasters. Reach Out Worldwide held a fundraiser event yesterday for typhoon relief efforts -- Walker and Rodas were leaving that event when the tragic accident took place.

The actor's reps confirmed his untimely passing via his official Facebook page:

 It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences.


"All of us at Universal are heartbroken," a rep for the studio behind the 'Fast and Furious' franchise said in a statement, reported at Variety. "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."

Walker began acting in the 80s, but made his breakout in the late 90s with roles in 'Pleasantville,' 'Varsity Blues,' and 'She's All That,' before landing the lead role in 'The Fast and the Furious.' The actor, who had appeared in five of the 'Fast and Furious' films, has been busy filming the upcoming seventh installment of the series. Walker's newest film, the Hurricane Katrina drama 'Hours,' is scheduled to hit theaters in December.

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