Paul Walker died in a California car crash on Saturday. He was a passenger in a vehicle returning from a charity event. The 'Fast and Furious' star leaves behind a daughter and countless fans of his movies.
[Paul Walker: Fast And The Furious actor dies]
This tragic news comes as a huge shock with filming on 'Fast and Furious 7' well under way and racing towards screens in July 2014, but the implications of Walker's death on the future of the franchise are to be considered another day. For now, as a fan of the franchise, I have to take a moment to celebrate the star and the films he has given us.
Best known for his roles in five of the six 'Fast and Furious' films so far, Walker played Brian O'Conner in the franchise, only failing to appear in the third (and weakest) film 'The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift'.
He started out as a young undercover cop lured into the world of street racing to catch some criminals who had been robbing moving vehicles. This is where he met Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto and the pair bonded until Brian ended up blurring the lines between cop and criminal and letting Dom escape the law.
Walker returned in the second film alongside Tyrese Gibson and the pair went undercover to catch a shady businessman. When the original cast all reunited for the fourth film, fans got their biggest wish turned into reality and the franchise went from strength to strength from there.
Indeed the series is extremely unusual in Hollywood for actually becoming more successful with each passing installment. The first 'Fast' made around $200 million at the box office but last year's 'Part 6' scooped almost $800 million - a phenomenal turnaround for a franchise seemingly heading into straight-to-DVD territory with 'Tokyo Drift'.
It's no surprise that the most successful 'F&F' films all starred Walker alongside series star Vin Diesel, and it was their 'from-opposite-sides-of-the-track' chemistry that powered the series.
Walker's career certainly wasn't all about the 'Fast and Furious' though. He had recently had some of the best reviews of his career for his performance in 'Hours' where he played a man struggling to keep his infant daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Before that he appeared in 'Roadkill', a fantastic horror thriller about three kids who mess with the wrong trucker on a highway and end up having to drive for their lives. His association with vehicular mayhem on screen continued more recently with a role in 'Vehicle 19' but many younger viewers will likely remember him more from his role in Disney's 'Eight Below'.
A generation of teenage girls will also remember Walker - and his chiseled torso - from the trashy but enjoyable 'Into the Blue' with Jessica Alba.
Many may have not rated Walker's acting ability but in the true story of a man forced to leave his sled dogs behind in the Antarctic, Walker and his canine co-stars guaranteed you would get a lump in your throat.
Rest in Peace
I did not know Paul Walker personally and though his death is an utter tragedy for all his family and friends, it is the star Paul Walker that I will miss. I only knew him from his films, his characters and the occasional interview I had seen of him promoting his movies.
Reading up about him now that he is gone, it seems that Walker was an interesting character himself. Surfer, lover of cars, father and humanitarian, he will be missed by many. The 'Fast and Furious' franchise certainly will never be the same without him and us fans will never forget Paul Walker and the pleasure he gave us through his performances in the films. Rest in peace.
Pete is a cautious fan of the Fast and Furious films; enjoying the fast cars and furious fights but not so keen on the cheesy dialogue. However he's not going to be telling Vin Diesel that last bit any time in a hurry. Follow Pete on Twitter or check out his film and TV blog: I Love That Film.
More Fast and Furious articles from Pete: