A FIERY & TRAGIC END

NW - - NW Remembers -

Paul and his close friend Roger Ro­das were in the ac­tor’s Porsche Car­rera GT when they died just af­ter 3.30pm on Novem­ber 30, 2013. Paul – who was in the mid­dle of film­ing Fu­ri­ous 7 at the time – had just ap­peared at a fundraiser for his Reach Out World­wide char­ity.

While no drugs or al­co­hol were found in their sys­tems, speed was deemed to be a fac­tor, with Roger driv­ing the car at be­tween 80-93mph in a 45mph speed zone. He even­tu­ally lost con­trol of the wheel and the Porsche crashed into sev­eral trees and a con­crete lamp­post be­fore catch­ing fire. Both men were killed by in­juries and burns sus­tained in the crash.

“I think so many peo­ple think, ‘Oh, he was just a movie star, who was killed in a car ac­ci­dent,’” says Paul’s mum Ch­eryl. “But there was so much more to him. He was such an amaz­ing man.”

As soon as the news of Paul’s death emerged, stars took to so­cial me­dia to ex­press their shock and sad­ness. Dwayne John­son wrote, “Love you brother,” while Goldie Hawn added that Paul was “a very spe­cial hu­man be­ing”.

Paul’s She’s All That co-star Gabrielle Union tweeted, “We’ve lost a great, laid back, sweet, cool man & fa­ther,” while Mario Lopez sug­gested it was “eerie that the star of The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous died in a car ac­ci­dent”.

Le­gions of Paul’s fans also laid flow­ers, cards and can­dles at the Santa Clarita, Cal­i­for­nia crash site, with one sign read­ing “RIP Means Racing in Paradise.”

were. He was re­ally a guy’s guy.” While Paul was a huge name in Hol­ly­wood and was adored by mil­lions of fe­male fans, his favourite role was be­ing Meadow’s dad. Hav­ing spent most of her child­hood in Hawaii with her mum Re­becca Soteros, Meadow moved to Cal­i­for­nia to live with Paul a year be­fore his death. Ac­cord­ing to fam­ily mem­bers, the pair grew in­cred­i­bly close dur­ing those 12 months, and they re­call the ac­tor rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to see his lit­tle girl ma­ture into a young woman and at­tend things like her school dances. Ch­eryl Walker: “He helped Meadow’s date pin on his bou­ton­nière and drove them to the dance and picked them up. It was so sweet.” Cody Walker: “He loved be­ing a dad. He was so proud of Meadow.” Jes­sica Alba: ‘He loved his daugh­ter so much and talked about her all the time. He never cared about Hol­ly­wood. He never cared about the hype.” In­deed, those clos­est to Paul say he was some­thing of a re­luc­tant star. In fact, at the time of his death he was con­tem­plat­ing quit­ting show­biz for good! Matt Lu­ber: “Paul was al­ways an ac­tor who had one foot in and one foot out – he would just dis­ap­pear!” Caleb Walker: “He’d al­ways say ‘I wanted to be a park ranger, you know, make $28,000 a year and live in the wilder­ness.’ That’s re­ally what he wanted to do… He had mixed emo­tions about the in­dus­try. Parts of it he liked, other parts he didn’t. He was ac­tu­ally start­ing to re­ally en­joy the chal­lenge of cer­tain roles. I be­lieve he’d still be act­ing, he was just get­ting to a point where he was able to be more se­lec­tive. He loved the Fast fam­ily, and that wasn’t go­ing to go away.” For his fam­ily es­pe­cially, the doco I Am Paul Walker has been a way to re­mem­ber Paul, hon­our his legacy and bring them all to­gether again. Still, the an­niver­sary of his death al­ways re­mains a tough time... Cody Walker: “[His death] had its toll on our fam­ily. Typ­i­cally when you have these big [fam­ily] re­unions, it’s for a funeral or a wed­ding and the last time a lot of us ex­tended fam­ily got to­gether was when Paul passed away. [The film is] bring­ing peo­ple to­gether again, while at the same time hon­our­ing Paul and all the won­der­ful things he did.” Tyrese Gib­son: “[The last week of Novem­ber] is al­ways rough for those of us who re­ally knew him per­son­ally. Paul treated ev­ery­one with the ut­most re­spect and went out of his way to make ev­ery­one feel like they mat­tered... He was so reg­u­lar. So grounded and so cool. He was the guy ev­ery woman wanted to be with and ev­ery man wanted to be like.” ■

Besties Paul and Vin won Best On-screen Team for The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous at the 2002 MTV Movie Awards FAM­ILY FIRST Paul was very close to his brothers Cody (left) and Caleb, who stood in as Paul’s body dou­ble to com­plete Fu­ri­ous 7 in 2013. Caleb adds that Vin Diesel has been “ex­tremely pro­tec­tive” of the fam­ily in the five years since Paul died, re­veal­ing, “We call him our god­fa­ther. He’s def­i­nitely been there for us when we needed him.” Meadow is signed with mod­el­ling agency Women Man­age­ment

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