Movie tough guy Vin Diesel became choked up at a special Los Angeles screening of Furious 7 on Monday (16Mar15) as he honored his late pal Paul Walker, hours after he became a father for the third time.
The actor rushed from his girlfriend Paloma Jimenez's hospital bedside on Monday evening to attend the first public preview in California and introduce Walker's final film to fans.
Addressing the audience, he said, "I had to come from the hospital, and I had to introduce the first screening in California, where the whole franchise started. As you know, this was a very personal and important film to us, every time when I saw the movie at the premiere, Paul Walker and I would go off to the side, and he would always tell me, 'Vin, the best one's still in the can...'
"This was a labor of love. It was in some ways the hardest movie that I ever had to do because the relationships that you see on film are so real, when the tragedy happened, I lost my best friend; I lost my brother."
He took a long pause as he tried to gather his emotions, prompting one member of the audience to call out his support for the star, saying, "You've got family here, Vin."
A grateful Diesel responded, "I love that, thanks for being my family, thanks for always taking care of us, thanks for believing in us. You know what's most important in life. This is our gift to you, but more importantly, it's for my brother there."
The Los Angeles screening took place after Furious 7 premiered at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas in the early hours of Monday, when Diesel's co-star Tyrese Gibson and director James Wan led dedications to Walker, who died in a car crash in late 2013, before the film was completed. His brothers, Caleb and Cody, later stepped in to complete the actor's scenes.
Furious 7 is due to open in movie theaters next month (Apr15).