Thousands Attend Tribute to Paul Walker, Roger Rodas in Valencia

Thousands of fans and car enthusiasts gathered in Valencia Sunday for a memorial tribute to “Fast & Furious” actor Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas, organizers said.

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Paul Walker and Roger Rodas are shown in a photo posted on December 15, 2010, to the Always Evolving Facebook page.

“Just to know that we’ve lost a really great human being such as him … It’s just a great loss to the world,” America Braislin, a fan who attended the event, said of Walker.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a traffic advisory urging drivers to avoid the area because of the crowds.

“The area where the crash occurred is not compatible with the large number of cars or people expected Sunday,” the traffic advisory said.

More than 7,600 people RSVP’d on Facebook to attend the gathering, organizers said.

“As far as I’m concerned, [Walker is] the James Dean of our time. And he went too soon,” fan Jason Horn said at the memorial. “I’m here to pay respect for him and his family, and Roger Rodas’s family.”

Just before 1 p.m. the Sheriff’s Department tweeted that traffic was backed up for miles.

Walker, 40, and Rodas, 38, were killed last Saturday in a fiery car crash outside a business park in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop (map).

Their bodies were located inside a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.   They were pronounced dead at the scene after Los Angeles County firefighters extinguished the fire, authorities said.

The vehicle struck a tree and a concrete light pole before erupting in flames, authorities said.

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Fans began arriving for the tribute early Sunday morning, Valencia, Dec. 8, 2013. (Credit: Dave Mecham)

Walker and Rodas were identified via dental records, according a statement issued Wednesday by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Rodas, the driver of the car, died of multiple traumatic injuries, according to the statement.

Walker succumbed to the combined effects of thermal and traumatic injuries.

The two “died within seconds” of the collision, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.

Their deaths were officially ruled an accident, coroner’s officials said.

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Many families could be seen attending the tribute, Valencia, Dec. 8, 2013. (Credit: Christopher Pace)

Sunday’s memorial tribute to the pair took place at the scene of the crash from 12 to 5 p.m., where a makeshift memorial has continued to grow over the past week.

Fans traveled from around the country to attend the gathering.

“I have heard people coming from Texas, already from last night and a couple of other buddies came from the Bay Area,” Cody Oldham, who drove from Visalia, told KTLA 5.

Oldham said he was a long-time Walker fan.  “He’s an inspiration.  He’s a hero to everybody out here.”

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Well-wishers filled the side of a bus with inscriptions for Paul Walker and Roger Rodas at a memorial in Valencia on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. (Credit: Steve Kuzj/KTLA)


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