Rest in Peace, Paul Walker

Fans of the “Fast and Furious” franchise and beyond are mourning the passing of Paul Walker, the gorgeous and likeable star who helmed all but one of the seven street-racing popcorn films.

Walker, whose arresting gaze and high wattage smile made him stand out in roles from “Takers” to “Varsity Blues,” was riding in a Porsche reportedly driven by a friend, identified as Roger Rodas, when they crashed into a tree. Rodas has been described as not only a financial partner of Walker’s but as a former race car driver, according to outlets including Auto Week.

Both men lost their lives at the fiery crash scene.

Sadly, news of their passing– broken by TMZ– initially attracted doubt, as a death hoax involving Walker had hit the Web just days prior.  Complicating matters, TMZ has had some missteps in the recent past, including reports that Lil’ Wayne was on his deathbed…information that later turned out to be false.

Once fans, supporters and Hollywood insiders realized that Walker indeed perished in an explosion seemingly ripped from the script of his hit series, condolences began to pour in, including via online memorials from Walkers’ co-stars, Tyrese Gibson and Vin Diesel.

Walker leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter, Meadow.

Our prayers go out to those who knew and loved Walker and Rodas.

The leading actor’s memory will undoubtedly live on in the franchise he made famous.