- At 9 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 30, reports surfaced online that actor Paul Walker, 40, had died in a car crash in which he was a passenger. Known for his work in the Fast and the Furious franchise, Walker's death is the latest in a string of young celebrities passing under tragic circumstances.
- The news was first reported by TMZ, a celebrity gossip and news website. The article quickly drew readers' attention, causing the website to go offline for a short period of time due to traffic.
- TMZ also tweeted about the news, alerting the popular social media website of his passing.
- Other news outlets such as Mediaite and the New York Daily News began to pick up the story as well, citing only TMZ as a source. The lack of confirmation from official sources caused social media users and fans to be suspicious. Twitter death hoaxes aren't uncommon - every year more and more celebrities log into their social media accounts only to find that they've died suddenly. With Twitter's track record, it's not hard to believe social media was skeptical:
- Shortly after 10 p.m. EST, after an hour of speculation, confirmations of Walker's death began appearing online. The Associated Press received a statement from Ade Van Iden, Walker's publicist, confirming his death in California.
- Shortly after the publicist statement, Walker's official Twitter account, @RealPaulWalker confirmed the news themselves. The post cross-references a post made on his official Facebook page, giving slightly more detail as to the circumstances of his death:
- Walker is known best for his role as Brian O'Conner in the Fast and the Furious film franchise, in which he has starred in five films. His character, a former police officer turned F.B.I. agent and street racer, has been a staple in the series since the beginning. The latest film, Fast & Furious 6, was released on May 24, 2013:
- Walker was in Santa Clarita to attend a charity event for Reach Out Worldwide. The nonprofit is a mobile first aid organization specializing in helping out after devastating natural disasters worldwide, currently giving aid to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
He was a passenger in his friend Roger Rodas' car when the red Porsche "crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames", according to police. Both passengers died. The car was mangled almost beyond recognition:
- At the time of his death, Walker was working on the next movie in the Fast & Furious franchise, set to be released in 2014. The movie also stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Jason Statham.
- The movie, which has not been completed at the time of Walker's death, has fans worrying about the franchise's future. At this time, it is unknown whether the production will continue on schedule. Fans have expressed worry about the upcoming film:
- Walker's untimely death has caused many different reactions from fans and non-fans alike. Some of his former costars and friends took to Twitter to express their condolences and feelings.
James Wan, Walker's director in the new Fast and Furious movie: