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‘Fast & Furious’ star Paul Walker killed in car crash

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NEW: Autoweek: The Porsche Carrera GT is a hard car to drive, even for professionals

Paul Walker's racing team partner was driving the Porsche, CNN affiliate reports

Official identification of the remains will take days, coroner investigator says

Speed was a factor, the sheriff's office says

Santa Clarita, California CNN —  

Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise “Fast & Furious,” died in a fiery car crash in Southern California on Saturday. He was 40.

Walker was in the passenger seat of a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, driven by a racing team partner, that slammed into a light pole and burst into flames in an office park in the community of Valencia in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood.

Walker’s publicist Ame van Iden confirmed his death Saturday. The driver, identified by CNN affiliate KCAL-TV as Roger Rodas, also died.

“Thank you all for your condolences and prayers while we mourn the loss of our loved ones,” read a message posted on the Facebook page for Always Evolving, the high-performance car shop owned by Rodas.

Los Angeles Coroner Investigator Dana Bee told CNN on Sunday it would likely take 48 hours to officially identify the remains taken from the twisted wreckage. The families are gathering dental records for use in the identification, which is necessary because of the condition of the bodies, Bee said.

Speed was a factor in the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said. A 45 mph speed limit sign was attached to the light pole knocked down by the Porsche.

The car, which sold for $450,000 when new, is a notoriously difficult vehicle to handle, even for professional drivers, according to Autoweek magazine. A top driver called it “scary,” the magazine reported Sunday. It is powered by a V-10, 610-hp engine.

The wreck took place about 3:30 p.m. Saturday just a few hundred yards from the shop owned by Rodas. Both men had attended a holiday toy drive for Walker’s charity hosted at the shop that afternoon.

Antonio Holmes told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper that he was at the charity event when Walker and Rodas left for a ride in the Porsche.