Walker, 40, was a passenger in a fiery one-car crash on Saturday in
Santa Clarita, California, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles,
that also killed 38-year-old driver Roger Rodas.
The coroner said Walker's death resulted from "traumatic and thermal
injuries." While the coroner did not elaborate, thermal injuries are
heat-related and are commonly burns.
Universal, owned by Comcast Corp, said filming of the big-budget
action movie has been put on hold for an unspecified amount of time
as it decides how to continue production without Walker.
"At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down
production on 'Fast & Furious 7' for a period of time so we can
assess all options available to move forward with the franchise,"
Universal Pictures said in a statement.
The film, which began production in September, is currently
scheduled to be released in theaters on July 11, 2014.
Rodas, the owner of a local auto dealership and racing services
company Always Evolving and who was behind the wheel of the Porsche
Carrera GT at the time of the crash, died of multiple traumatic
injuries, the coroner said.
The coroner ruled that both deaths were accidents and said that the
injuries occurred when the car struck a fixed object.
Both Walker and Rodas died "within seconds" after impact, coroner
spokesman Ed Winter told the Los Angeles Times. Winter was
unavailable for comment.
Surveillance video shows the red Porsche crashing into a utility
pole and bursting into flames about a minute later, according to
footage shown on CNN.
'FAST' HELPED UNIVERSAL TURN AROUND
The Vin Diesel-led "Fast & Furious" movies, which have grossed more
than $2 billion at the global box office, are one of two major
franchises, along with the animated "Despicable Me" films, that
helped turn around Universal Pictures in recent years.
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Universal may be able to rework "Fast 7" in time to
keep to the July release date, a prime slot in the summer
movie-going period when audiences flock to big-budget action films,
said Matthew Harrigan, an industry analyst who follows Universal
parent company Comcast for Wunderlich Securities.
If the studio decides to make major changes that prevent a July
opening, the film could get pushed to the summer of 2015, Harrigan
"This is something that is an incredibly important franchise for
Universal," he said. "They just need to figure out how to rework it
and how to address his death in an appropriate manner."
The autopsies of Walker and Rodas were delayed as the
coroner's office needed dental records to identify the bodies.
Toxicology reports on the bodies will be completed in six to eight
weeks, the coroner's office said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said on Sunday that
speed played a role in the crash but has ruled out the possibility
that the pair were street racing. Its investigation into the crash
is expected to be completed in the coming days.
Walker became a symbol of street-racing and car culture in his role
as law enforcement officer Brian O'Conner in the "Fast & Furious"
The actor, who played supporting roles in 1998's "Pleasantville" and
1999's "Varsity Blues," was in five of the six "Fast & Furious"
films about illegal street racing, heists and organized crime.
Walker also starred in the Hurricane Katrina survival drama "Hours,"
which will be released on December 13, and the crime drama "Brick
Mansions," which is in post-production and will be released next
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Paul Simao)