Walker, 40, was a passenger in a Porsche sports car driven by a friend – who also died – when it crashed north of Los Angeles. Walker was said to be attending a charity event at the time. He starred in all but one of the films in the Fast & Furious franchise, the sixth of which opened in May.
Walker also starred in the suspense drama Hours, a movie that is set for release this month. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department said the crash happened in the community of Valencia.
Images showed the burned-out wreckage of a red Porsche by the side of the road.
“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 organisation Reach Out Worldwide,” the statement on the actor’s Facebook page said.
“He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives. We… are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news.”
Universal Pictures also issued a statement, saying studio staff were “heartbroken” by Walker’s death.
“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 & Furious films, and to countless fans.
“We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.” Walker played undercover agent Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious movies.
The first film of the franchise was released in 2001 and the seventh is in development. Walker was one of the leading protagonists, along with Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez.
Diesel said in a post on Instagram: “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace