updated 08/25/2015 AT 8:16 PM ET
•originally published 12/04/2013 AT 6:20 PM ET
He may have been a movie star, but friends say the role Paul Walker cherished most was Dad.
“He told me recently he was the happiest he’d ever been,” close friend Brandon Birtell tells PEOPLE. “It was directly because of the growing relationship with his daughter and the clarity that brought to his life.”
In her younger years, Meadow lived in Hawaii with her mother, and Walker s onetime girlfriend, Rebecca Soteros. His own schedule meant constant travel from his California home base, but Walker’s little girl was never far from his heart.