In the wake of Paul Walker’s untimely death last weekend, fans and celebrities across the globe have offered condolences and expressed how the Fast and Furious actor impacted their life. A humanitarian and car enthusiast, Walker was respected in many circles, including the mixed martial arts community where he earned a BJJ brown belt.
Ricardo ‘Franjinha’ Miller, who privately coached Walker at the Paragon Academy in Santa Barbara, Calif., shared his grief on Facebook. ”No words can describe my feeling right now, just RIP Bro,” Miller said. ”Your kindness and friendship will be missed. I just can’t believed it. But, I want to thank you for the great times and memories that we shared together. I will Never forget It. Go in peace my friend.”
Walker’s grandfather “Irish Billy Walker” was a professional boxer and his father, Paul William Walker III, was a two-time Golden Gloves amateur boxing champion. While he was exposed to fighting at an early age, a love for Jiu-Jitsu didn’t flourish until Royce Grace and the UFC gained notoriety.
In an interview with Fox Sports, UFC welterweight Jake Shields reflected on Walker’s compassion for the well-being of others. “I had seen him a few times in movies and I got to hang out with him on some long nights, had some long conversations about the world, (how he was) trying to fix things,” said Shields. ”He was one of the most down-to-Earth guys I ever met.”
Other notable MMA figures have expressed their sentiments, including Anderson Silva:
I was a big fan of Paul Walker. I would like to send my most heartfelt prayers to his family. Um grande ator… pic.twitter.com/WTiNxbu74A
— Anderson Silva (@SpiderAnderson) December 1, 2013
As the pivotal character in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise, a decision hasn’t be made on how to best handle Walker’s passing. Fast and Furious 7, which includes UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, begin filming in September but is on hold until further notice. The film’s cast uploaded a tribute to YouTube, which has already surpassed one million views.
Walker was 40 years old and is survived by his daughter.