Paul Walker died of “combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries.” That’s the official word from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department, which conducted autopsies on the “Fast & Furious” star and his friend Roger Rodas on Tuesday and released the results Wednesday morning.
The report formally identified Walker, 40, as the passenger, and Rodas, 38, as the driver, in what was ruled for the first time as an “accident.” According to the report, Rodas succumbed to “multiple traumatic injuries” and Walker of “combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries.” Both men died “within seconds” of the incident, described as “auto versus fixed object.”
A toxicology report is still pending for both men and should be completed in six to eight weeks.
Walker and Rodas were killed when Rodas apparently lost control of their 2005 Porsche Carrera GT and slammed into a tree and light pole on Saturday afternoon in Valencia, California, bursting into flames. Walker had just participated in a nearby charity event. He was on a Thanksgiving weekend hiatus from filming “Fast & Furious 7.”
The Los Angeles Country Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the cause of the crash. Investigators hope to have their initial findings in the next week. Although speed was determined to be a contributing factor, detectives are also looking at the possibility of a mechanical failure or blown tire.
In the meantime, the scene of the accident has become a makeshift memorial, attracting family, friends, co-stars, and fans, who are leaving flowers, photos, and other mementos.
Also Wednesday morning, Universal Pictures announced it was shutting down production on the latest sequel.
“Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul’s immediate family and our extended ‘Fast & Furious’ family of cast, crew, and filmmakers,” the studio said in a statement. “At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on ‘Fast & Furious 7’ for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping ‘Fast & Furious’ fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker.”
The official “Fast & Furious” account on YouTube posted a loving tribute to the actor late Wednesday.
Sources tell Yahoo that about two-thirds of the film would have to be rewritten to accommodate the loss of Walker, and the screenwriters will be huddling with studio execs, director James Wan, and franchise co-star Vin Diesel to come up with a respectful way to proceed. Among the options: scrap the footage that has been shot and start over from scratch.