Some sad news to start the month off with – The Fast and the Furious actor Paul Walker has sadly lost his life, at the relatively young agepaul-walker-picture-5 of 40.

TMZ first reported the news that Walker was involved in a fatal car crash in California, where another passenger also sadly passed, but the news was later confirmed by various other news sources including Walker’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. According to sources, Walker – who has appeared in all but one of the theatrical Fast and Furious movies – was taking friends for test rides in his new Porsche GT in Santa Clarita, California, when the driver lost control and slammed into a tree that sent the car bursting into flames, killing Walker and one other passenger.

The crash was unrelated to Walker’s current shooting of sequel Fast and Furious 7, due for release next summer, but was linked to his attendance at a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide which seeks to provide aid for hurricane and typhoon victims in the Phillipines and elsewhere across the world. You may visit and donate to the cause via the link here.

Starting his career in the mid-80s with appearances in various films and TV shows, Walker’s career soon took off in the early 00’s after two collaborations with director Rob Cohen: The Skulls, and more famously The Fast and the Furious. Walker would return for director John Singleton’s sequel to the latter, entitled 2 Fast 2 Furious, but skipped third film Tokyo Drift before returning for director Justin Lin’s further sequels Fast and Furious, Fast Five and this year’s Fast and Furious 6 respectively, all of which would elevate the series to its current blockbuster status. In addition, Walker appeared in smaller independent films such as She’s All That, Joy Ride and Takers, and whose next indie project Hours is set for imminent release in the States (it is currently without a UK release date). Walker is survived by 15-year-old daughter Meadow.

As of writing, it is unknown how Walker’s death will affect the current making of director James Wan’s Fast and Furious 7, given his major protagonist role alongside actors Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham et al. It may be likely that certain scenes will be reshot to accommodate his passing, which could mean a farewell to the previously pencilled-in release of 25th July 2014, or in the event that Walker had shot the majority of his scenes beforehand then a more swift resolution can be found. Either way, watching Fast and Furious 7 shall be an emotional experience for any fan of the actor or franchise.

Universal Pictures, the distributors of the Fast and Furious franchise, described in a statement how they are “heartbroken.  Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast and Furious films, and to countless fans.  We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.”

We at Film Feeder also send our deepest sympathies and condolences to Walker’s family and friends, who we cannot even begin to fathom what they must be going through at this stage. His loss has affected anyone and everyone who has been entertained by his films and performances, but most importantly the people he has helped to make their lives better. He is a talent and a humanitarian who shall be sorely missed.