Photo: m anima / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Walker, best known for his starring role in the popular Fast & Furious movie franchise, has died in a horrific car accident. He was 40.

The actor was a passenger in a rare Porsche Carrera GT owned and driven by his close friend Roger Rodas. Rodas reportedly lost control of the car at high-speed, causing it to spin out before hitting a utility pole and bursting into flames near Valencia, just north of Los Angeles, CA. The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Local police found the car engulfed in flames when they responded to 911 calls reporting a collision at 3:30pm on November 30. Shortly after the fire was put out, both Walker and Rodas were pronounced dead at the scene.

The pair first met when Walker noticed Rodas was driving a car he previously owned and they hit it off, Rodas’ Merril Lynch profile states. Drawn together by a love of cars, the pair became close friends and even raced together in the Pirelli World Challenge racing series. Rodas, 38, was named in Barron magazine as one of America’s Top 1000 Financial Advisers in 2010, 2011 and in 2012. Though he owns a custom car shop, he also served as Walker’s closest financial adviser – Managing his personal investments and setting up Walker’s charity Reach Out Worldwide.

Images have been circulating on social media showing horrific images of the burnt out wreckage of the car.

News of Walker’s death was initially deemed a hoax after fake reports of Walker’s death were published by a parody news website just yesterday, but his death has now confirmed. Both his publicist and his official Facebook and Twitter pages confirm the actor dies during an event held by the charity he founded – Reach Out Worldwide. The actor started the charity to help victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but it quickly grew to offer help in many disaster areas around the world.

The statement Walker’s Facebook page reads:

“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.”

Paul Walker and FF6 Director Justin Lin

Image: Paul Walker laughing with Fast & Furious 6 Director Justin Lin.

Walker’s first taste of Hollywood success came with his minor role in the Gary Ross directed flick ‘Pleasantville.’ After starring in a few other minor movies, he hit the big time landing a starring role in the first ‘Fast & Furious’ movie. The franchise went on to become one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, grossing over $2 billion dollars at the box office across six movies, with Walker starring in most of them. The seventh installment, which is being filmed, was also due to star Walker alongside Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Walker’s latest film, ‘Hours,’ is about a father who struggles to keep his daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The film hits theaters December 13, 2013. He is survived by his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow.