It’s been a year since “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker died in a fiery car crash that rocked his family, friends and millions of fans.
The handsome humanitarian died in the passenger seat of his friend’s 2005 Porsche Carrera GT just moments after attending a toy drive for his charity Reach Out Worldwide.
His tight-knit family was devastated by the senseless loss and quickly closed ranks to grieve and care for his then 15-year-old daughter Meadow.
Youngest sibling Cody Walker was living in Oregon at the time but moved back to California in the wake of the tragedy to help keep ROWW going and honor his brother’s legacy.
“I am so lucky to have had him as a big brother,” Cody, 26, told the Daily News via email Wednesday.
“ROWW continues to be, to function, to help others even after our primary contributor, my brother, Paul Walker has passed. I know he would be so stoked to know that,” he said. “ROWW changed his life, and he was so proud of it.”
Cody said the rapid-response group recently returned from a medical mission to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It also deployed a team to the Arkansas town of Mayflower after a destructive tornado in April.
“This year has been very challenging but also extremely rewarding,” he said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this.”
The late actor’s dad said his own feelings of grief remain staggering, especially with the death anniversary so close to Thanksgiving.
“I’m missing him more now, the last month. It’s not getting any better for me,” Paul Walker III told “Entertainment Tonight” in a recent interview.
He said his son’s death last Nov. 30 will forever link his loss with the family-centered holiday.
“It’s a sad time. We’re a very close, loving family, and Paul is a piece that’s missing now, that we’re always going to miss,” he told ET.
The beloved actor was 40 years old and enjoying a successful run with the wildly successful “Fast & Furious” franchise when he died in the high-performance sportscar piloted by his friend and business partner Roger Rodas.
Investigators later determined the solo-vehicle collision in Santa Clarita, Calif., was caused by excessive speed.
They said the exotic car likely was traveling between 80 and 93 miles per hour on tires more than nine years old when Rodas lost control and it crashed into a power pole and several trees and burst into flames.
There was no evidence of mechanical failure and neither drugs nor alcohol played a role, investigators said.
When he first heard about the accident, Paul Walker Sr. said he felt physically paralyzed.
“I kept getting calls. My brother says, ‘Paul has been killed.’ And I’m thinking somebody’s got it wrong,” the father told ET. “He says, ‘You need to get over to the house, everybody’s there.’ My feet wouldn’t move.”
The grieving dad said he still returns to the scene of his son’s death and takes comfort in the notes of love and condolences left by fans.
He also takes solace in a powerful memory of their last in-person meeting.
“The last time I saw him, he gave me a kiss on the cheek, (and) I gave him one. I tell him I loved him,” Walker Sr. shared. “It’s a great memory.”
Moments before the deadly crash, Walker and his daughter attended the toy drive for ROWW at the Always Evolving car shop he co-owned with 38-year-old Rodas, a married dad.
Days earlier, Walker said he was the happiest he’d ever been since his daughter moved from Hawaii to California to be closer to him.
“We’re matching up sweet!” Walker told reporters of his relationship with Meadow. “She’s been with her mom her whole life and she wants a relationship with her pops. It’s working out really well right now.”
After the stunning crash, Meadow called her dad “My REAL life hero!” in a Facebook post.
“When I was little he taught me to walk, taught me to smile, and taught me to never give up,” she wrote. “I loved him even before I knew what love was.”
Walker portrayed undercover FBI agent Brian O’Conner in five “Fast & Furious” movies.
He was filming the seventh installment when he died. His brothers Cody and Caleb later acted as stand-ins to help producers finish the movie for a planned April 2015 release.
In his statement to The News, Cody reflected on the lessons he learned from his beloved big brother.
“Honestly, just live your life to the fullest. Laugh a lot, love and find your true happiness,” he said. “Remember that no matter how cool you think you may be, you’re not cool enough to look down on anyone…ever.”
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