Fans shocked by ‘Fast and Furious’ star’s death

Tom Vo, Staff Writer

“So check it out, it’s like this: If I lose, winner takes my car clean and clear. But if I win, I take the cash, and I take the respect” — Brian O’Conner “The Fast and Furious” 2001.

In the film, O’Connor did win, but nobody could have anticipated that Paul Walker, the actor who shined as O’Connor throughout the “Fast and Furious” series, would lose his life in a tragic car accident.

As the man behind the wheel in the collection of racing movies, Walker was more than just a movie star who drove fast cars and won pink slips.  He was an active philanthropist that participated in charitable work such as creating the organization known as Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), which includes doctors, nurses, and volunteers that assist the world in times of disaster.

Walker was a strong advocate of humanitarian work and preached the values of generosity.

“When you put good will out there, it’s amazing what can be accomplished,” Walker said in an interview about ROWW.

On the day Walker hosted an event for ROWW to support the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, nobody could have anticipated the end of his life in such a tragic fashion.

On Nov. 30, 2013, Walker and Roger Rodas, Walker’s financial advisor and former professional driver, left the ROWW event in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.  While driving down a 45 mph speed zone, the car hit a light pole and crashed into a tree, causing the car to burst into flames. It was reported that Rodas was traveling over 100 mph, sparking the chain of events that killed both Walker and Rodas.

According to the coroner’s report, Walker died as a result of a combination of traumatic and thermal injuries, while Rodas died of multiple traumatic injuries.

After news of the deaths broke out through social media, co-stars and fans immediately expressed their thoughts about Walker’s passing.

“I’ve prayed to God for your family and daughter and I am now at peace with what happened…” fellow “Fast and Furious” co-star and close friend Tyrese Gibson said on an Instagram post directed to Walker.  “And now we are gonna make you proud bro…proud.”

Many people who approach car tuning as a hobby can credit Walker as a significant influence behind this pastime.

“It was really devastating, it affected me as a fan liking all his movies,” senior Jon Ferrer said.  “He got me into cars, and I knew him since his first ‘Fast and Furious’ movie came out.”

Others recognize Walker as a role model who encourages social connections with others through cars.

“Paul Walker made me more fascinated with cars as I watched the ‘Fast and Furious’ series growing up,” senior Bryan Be said.  “He was one of the inspirations that lead me to love fixing up my car and participating in car meets with other drivers, just like in the movies.”

Although Walker’s life was taken away, his legacy still lives on as a race-car driving cultural icon and as a humanitarian who truly cared for the world.