Investigators sought to determine the cause of a fiery crash that killed Fast & Furious star Paul Walker while the actor’s fans erected a makeshift memorial on Sunday near where the Porsche he was riding in smashed into a light pole and tree.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said speed was a factor in Saturday’s one-car crash, though it will take time to determine how fast the car was going.
Because Walker is so closely associated with the underground culture of street racing portrayed in the popular Fast & Furious film franchise, the fatal accident had an eerie quality – a tragic end for a Hollywood hero of speed.
The crash also killed Walker’s friend and financial adviser Roger Rodas, according to Walker’s publicist, Ame Van Iden.
She said Walker was a passenger in the 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT when they drove away from a fundraiser in Valencia, about 30 miles from Los Angeles.
Sheriff’s deputies found the car engulfed in flames when they arrived at the site of the crash, near the fundraiser at Mr Rodas’ sports car dealership.
Yesterday fans of Walker, 40, gathered to leave flowers, candles and memorabilia from the action movies. His Fast & Furious co-star Tyrese Gibson broke down when he visited the crash site.
“Paul is the heartbeat of this franchise and we’re gonna see to it that his energy and presence lives on forever,” Gibson later posted on his Instagram account.
He also posted a video of the film cast and crew recently celebrating Walker’s birthday.
Sheriff’s deputy Peter Gomez said investigators are working to discover how fast the car was travelling and what caused it to go out of control, including whether the driver was distracted or something in the road prompted him to swerve.
Walker rode the Fast & Furious franchise to fame, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001.
He had been on break from shooting the seventh instalment. Production began in September and while much of the film has been shot, it is incomplete.
Universal Pictures has not said what it plans to do with the film, which is due for release in July.
Walker and Mr Rodas had thrown a fundraiser for victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. The event was held by Reach Out Worldwide, a charity Walker founded in 2010 to aid victims of natural disasters.
The event took place at Mr Rodas’ custom car shop, Always Evolving. Mr Rodas, 38, and Walker co-owned an car racing team.
Walker left behind two completed films. He stars in the Hurricane Katrina drama Hours, due for release on December 13.
He is also in Brick Mansions, a remake of the French action film District B13 that is planned for release next year.
His Fast & Furious co-stars reacted in shock the actor’s death. Vin Diesel posted a photograph of him and Walker arm-in-arm on Instagram with the message: “I am absolutely speechless.”
Lucadris said 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.