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‘Fast & Furious’ star Paul Walker dies in car crash

File-This March 21 2013 file phoshows actor Paul Walker wearing creatifrom Colcci summer collectiSao Paulo FashiWeek Sao Paulo Brazil.

File-This March 21, 2013 file photo shows actor Paul Walker wearing a creation from the Colcci summer collection at Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A publicist for actor Walker says the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series has died in a car crash north of Los Angeles. He was 40. Ame Van Iden says Walker died Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. No further details were released. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

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Updated: December 1, 2013 2:19PM

LOS ANGELES — Paul Walker, the star of the “Fast & Furious” movie series, died Saturday in a car crash near Los Angeles that also killed a second person, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told The Associated Press.

A statement on the actor’s Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend’s car and was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

Walker was working on “Fast & Furious 7” at the time of his death. He also starred in the suspense drama “Hours,” set for release this month.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said deputies found a car engulfed in flames after a collision in the community of Valencia, with two people dead.

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

Walker rode the “Fast & Furious” franchise to stardom, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first 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.

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 beginning at the age of 2.

Walker once said the early induction to show business wasn’t to start him on a career path but to help provide for the family.

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 center stage, with his co-star Vin Diesel momentarily dropping out. Walker, a self-described “gearhead,” kept his character’s sports car from the film.

Walker starred in other films, including the crime thriller “Running Scared,” the Antarctic adventure “Eight Below” and the heist film “Takers.” Though his stardom didn’t make as much of an impact outside the “Fast & Furious” series, Walker drew praise from his co-stars and directors as a kind-hearted and eager collaborator.

And “Fast & Furious” proved unusually enduring. Released in May, “Fast & Furious 6” was the most lucrative of them all, grossing more than $788 million worldwide. The seventh installment began shooting in September, with a release planned for July.

Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.

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