Walker was born in Glendale, California on September 12, 1973 to sewer contractor Paul William Walker III and fashion model Cheryl and was brought up in a working class Mormon household.
The eldest of five children, Walker began a modelling career at the young age of 2, appearing in a commercial for Pampers. Encouraged by his mother, he auditioned for television acting roles and went on to make guest appearances in Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel. In 1992, Walker bagged a recurring role as teenager Brandon Collins in US soap The Young and the Restless.
Walker's talents were transferred to the big screen in 1998, when he made his feature film debut as Phil Deedle in Disney comedy Meet the Deedles. Following the movie's success, Walker secured supporting roles in teen films including Varsity Blues, She's All That and The Skulls.
Walker's most notable role came in 2001, in the form of LAPD officer Brian O'Conner in The Fast and the Furious, opposite Vin Diesel. Propelling the actor into the spotlight, Walker went on to reprise his role, this time as the lead character, for 2003 sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious. After taking a break from the franchise, he returned for fourth movie Fast & Furious in 2009, 2011's Fast Five and this year's Fast & Furious 6. Prior to his death, Walker had been filming the seventh instalment of the series, which is due for release in 2014.
Having established himself as a Hollywood leading man, Walker's other notable roles included 2005 action film Into the Blue opposite Jessica Alba, Disney adventure Eight Below and crime thriller Takers, alongside Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen and Zoe Saldana.
Walker had recently completed work on a couple of other yet-to-be released projects, He stars as the lead in Hours, set for release on December 13, playing a man struggling to keep his daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Another of the actor's last projects, Brick Mansions, a remake of 2004 French action film District 13, is currently in post-production and has been slated for a 2014 release.
Walker dedicated much of his time to charity work, flying out to Chile to help bring aid after an earthquake in 2010, and supporting the earthquake victims in Haiti the same year. The trips inspired Walker to set up Reach Out WorldWide, a non-profit organisation with the aim of providing skilled professional aid in the wake of natural disasters. The charity has since helped with the relief effort for the Indonesian tsunami in 2010, the 2011 Alabama tornado, the Oklahoma tornado earlier this year, and most recently, the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
Walker had been attending a fundraiser for Reach Out WorldWide when he was involved in a fatal car accident in Santa Clarita, California yesterday (November 30). The actor was the passenger in a Porsche when it collided with a telegraph pole. Both the actor and the driver were pronounced dead at the scene.
Fast and Furious producers Universal Pictures said: "All of us at Universal are heartbroken.
"Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast and Furious films, and to countless fans.
"We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family."
Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter Meadow.
Watch Paul Walker discuss Fast & Furious 6 with other cast members below: