Vin Diesel Makes First Public Comments on Death of Co-Star Paul Walker
Paul Walker’s “Fast & Furious” co-star Vin Diesel made his first public comments Monday regarding the death of the 40-year-old actor.
On his Facebook page Diesel wrote:
“To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.”
Pablo, I wish you could see the world right now… and the profound impact, your full life has had on it, on Us… on me…
I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were… on and off screen.
Several hours later Diesel visited the crash site in Santa Clarita and addressed those gathered at a makeshift memorial for Walker and his friend Roger Rodas, who also died in the crash.
A CNN report that drag racing may have been a contributing factor in the fiery crash that killed Walker and Rodas, was contradicted by authorities on Monday.
A tip came in Sunday to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department suggesting another car was at the scene when the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that Walker and Rodas were in crashed Saturday in Santa Clarita, about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Sgt. Richard Cohen told CNN, the network reported Monday.
“Naturally, from an investigative standpoint, we need to find out if that is one of the issues,” Cohen said.
Investigators were also looking at the possibility that another car veered in front of the Porsche and caused the crash, Cohen said, according to the CNN report.
Later Monday, the Sheriff’s Department issued a statement appearing to contradict Cohen’s statements as reported by CNN.
“Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station traffic investigators are continuing to document the investigation and have received eyewitness statements that the car involved was traveling alone at a high rate of speed,” the statement read, in part. “No eyewitness has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to say there was a second vehicle.”
The Porsche hit a light pole and a tree, then burst into flames Saturday around 3:30 p.m. near a business park in Santa Clarita, the Sheriff’s Department had said.
Monday’s updated statement from the department emphasized the detailed nature of the continuing investigation into the collision, which occurred at Hercules Street and Kelly Johnson Parkway, near the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop, Valencia.
The posted speed limit in that area is 45 mph, according to the Sheriff’s Department, which had said on Sunday that speed was a factor in the crash.
The bodies of Walker and Rodas were burned beyond recognition and dental records were needed to make positive identifications, Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office told KTLA 5 Monday. Their autopsies were likely to be completed later in the week, Winter said.
Walker was a passenger in the vehicle, according to his publicist.
The actor and Rodas were attending an event for Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide, to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Rodas, 38, reportedly helped Walker establish Reach Out Worldwide, and was CEO of Always Evolving, a performance shop in Valencia for high-end cars.
Walker, 40, was best known for his role in the “Fast and the Furious” movie franchise.
F. Valentino Morales, a producer who had been working with Walker on “Fast & Furious 7,” remembered the actor Sunday at a makeshift memorial near the crash site.
“We were very close,” Morales said. Walker was “the nicest guy in the world,” he said. “Everybody loved him. … He’ll be missed.”
Earlier Sunday, actor Tyrese Gibson, who appeared in multiple “Fast and the Furious” movies, wept as he visited the makeshift memorial.
The cast and crew from “Fast & Furious 7″ were on a Thanksgiving break at the time of Walker’s death, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The film will be delayed but not scrapped, the Hollywood reporter said.
KTLA’s Jennifer Thang and Melissa Pamer contributed to this report.