US actor Paul Walker who starred in the Fast & Furious series of action films has been killed in a car crash in California.

His publicist said the 40-year-old had been a passenger in a friend's car which crashed and went on fire north of Los Angeles last night. killing both men.

Mr Walker was in five of the six films about illegal street racing and heists. 

Police said that when officers arrived, they found the vehicle engulfed in flames.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed actor played Brian O'Conner, a law enforcement official. 

The first movie was released in 2001, and a seventh was in development at the time of his death, Universal, the studio behind the franchise, said in a statement.

"All of us at Universal are heartbroken," the studio said.  

"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," the studio added.