On Nov. 30, 2013—the day he would die—Fast and Furious star Paul Walker was chatting to his mother in her kitchen when he received an urgent text on his cellphone.
The actor, a key character in the driving franchise since its inception, had brought his daughter, Meadow, to the family home and they were discussing plans to buy a Christmas tree that evening.
In a new documentary entitled I Am Paul Walker, details of which are reported by People, his mother Cheryl said, “We were having this good conversation, and he’d forgotten about an event he had... He got a text and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m supposed to be somewhere!’”
Walker leapt up from his seat and dashed out the door.
His mother would never see Paul again.
Upon leaving the charity event, Paul, 40, hitched a ride in the passenger seat of his friend Roger Rhodas’ Porsche Carrera GT.
Minutes later, the car went out of control, hit a tree, and exploded into flames, killing both men.
Gruesomely, it was later established that Walker survived the crash but was burned to death in the vehicle, trapped by his seat belt.
Lawsuits by the men’s families contested a sheriff’s report that stated that the car was speeding, traveling at around 80 mph when it hit the tree.
Meadow Walker reportedly collected a $10.1 million settlement in 2016 from the estate of Rhodas, and a further undisclosed amount from Porsche, claiming design defects in the car contributed to her father’s death.
Documents claimed the car’s seat belt “snapped Walker’s torso back with thousands of pounds of force, thereby breaking his ribs and pelvis,” and Walker’s lawyers accused Porsche of knowing the Carrera GT had a history of “instability and control issues.”
Walker, famed for his surfer dude good looks, was in the midst of filming Fast and Furious 7 at the time of his death.
In the documentary, which is due to be screened next week, Cheryl says: “I think so many people think, ‘Oh, he was just a movie star who was killed in a car accident.’ But there was so much more to him. That was just a piece of who he was. He was an amazing man.”
Five years after his death, People reports, family members mark Paul’s birthday on Sept. 12 by visiting one of the actor’s favorite surf spots and throwing sunflowers into the ocean.
“I’ve gotten letters from people all over the world who said he made a difference in their lives,” says Cheryl. “That is such a blessing. He’s never forgotten.”