Paul Walker Left Mormon Faith to be a Christian, Known for a Heart to Help Others

Dec 01, 2013 05:56 PM EST

"The Fast and Furious" Actor Paul Walker loved to surf, loved cars and racing, but what most people don't realize is that he has a daughter, whom he loved and cherished. According to his friends, Walker was also known for a heart to help others.

In a 2005 USA Today article the California native says he grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but eventually left the Mormon faith. According to Walker's biography on IMDb he became a non-denominational Christian later in life.

"I'm a Christian now. The things that drove me crazy growing up was how everyone works at fault-finding with different religions. The people I don't understand are atheists. I go surfing and snow boarding and I'm always around nature. I look at everything and think, 'Who couldn't believe there's a God? Is all this a mistake?' It just blows me away."

The late actor who in a GQ UK magazine interview talked about how his Christian education and Mormon background influenced his thinking about family.

"It's so funny, my daughter now lives with me full time and my original plan was to work up until I was 40 then reassess my life, even go in a completely different direction with things," Walker had told GQ in an August 2013 interview. "I thought at this point in my life I would need to be home with her (16-year-old Meadow Rain Walker), but she wants me to keep acting so she can travel around the world with me. Would that be so bad?

"Thing is, I went to a born-again Christian high school, was brought up in a traditional Mormon family where these ideas about parenting are of structure and sacrifice. To think outside of that idea of family and parenting that I've grown up with is tough, but also very freeing."

Walker, 40, were attending a charity event for the Filippino victims of Typhoon Haiyan for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. His good friend Roger Rodas came to the fundraiser in Valencia and the two drove away in a 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT, according to Walker's publicist, Ame Van Iden.

Around 3 p.m. Saturday, the car crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames. Sheriff's deputies found the car engulfed in flames when they arrived at the site. Both the drive and the passenger were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said speed was a factor in the one-car crash, though it will take time to determine how fast the car was going, according to Associated Press.

Walker's death was later confirmed by both the publicist and his family. The statements expressed their shock and their 'beyond belief' saddness after hearing this news. His daughter Meadown Rain Walker has posted comments on social media, asking for prayers and recalling her fond memories of her father.

Walker was raised in a Mormon household in Glendale, Calif. He later went to Village Christian High School. According to Bill Townsend, a friend of Walker, Walker "dedicated so much of his life to helping disadvantaged kids and people who are in need, with his charity recently assisting those in the tornadoes in the Midwest and the trauma in the Philippines."

The actor, who also starred in "Pleasantville," "Varsity Blues," and "Into the Blues," was working in the seventh film of the "Fast and Furious" franchise. His co-stars, including Vin Diesel and Ludacris, have all expressed their grief over the lost of their friend and fellow co-star.

Ludacris wrote on Twitter, "Your humble spirit was felt from the start, wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark,..."

"Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless," wrote "Furious" co-lead actor Diesel. "Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace."

The star is survived by his 16-year-old daughter, whom he had out of wedlock with his ex-girlfriend Rebecca McBrain.