As tributes continue to pour in for Paul Walker, who died Saturday in a fiery car crash in California, a more well-rounded portrait of the actor has emerged, painting him as more than just one of the faces of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise, but as a humanitarian, outdoorsman, and recently re-dedicated father. In a moving story posted shortly after Walker's passing, Entertainment Weekly outlined all those less-publicized attributes and more.
Walker was killed after leaving an event for his charity, Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), which hosted a car show and toy drive Saturday in support of victims of Typhoon Haiyan. EW writes that Walker was inspired to found the organization following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. Walker flew to the country to assist relief efforts, but soon learned that there was a crucial need for fast-acting first responders who could cut through red tape.
Walker started ROWW soon after. Since then, the organization has assisted disaster areas in Indonesia, Alabama, and most recently the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, sending medical professionals, cleanup crews, and supplies. Walker earned his EMT certification to help assist ROWW, and was considering becoming a paramedic.
In addition to his humanitarian work, Walker also had a host of varied interests in outdoor and athletic pursuits, which began at a young age, when he went to community college to study marine biology. He cited Jacques Cousteau as an idol, and was a board member of the Billfish Foundation, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization.
He was an avid surfer, practiced Brazilian jiu-jitsu (he'd earned a brown belt, the second-highest level, and was working toward his black belt), loved archery and hunting, and had recently picked up birding and botany as hobbies. In a case of life imitating art, he loved cars, and competed semi-professionally in races.
But according to EW, Walker's most important role in recent years was that of father, one he had not taken much of an interest in during the first 13 years of his daughter's life. Meadow, now 15, lived with her mother in Hawaii until 2011, when she relocated to California to live with Walker full-time. Walker relished rebuilding their relationship, telling EW earlier this year, "[S]he's the best partner I've ever had."
"I hope we don't remember Walker as merely a handsome action star," EW's Grady Smith writes in his tribute to the actor. "He was a human being defined by a multitude of passions, not a smolder."