March 21, 2015 10:35 AM EDT

Vin Diesel said this week that “I lost my friend” when Paul Walker died in a 2013 car crash.

“When the tragedy happened, I lost my friend,” the actor said of his late Furious 7 co-star during an advance screening in Los Angeles. “I lost my brother.”

“This was a very, very personal and important film for us,” Diesel said. “It was in some ways the hardest movie I ever had to do.”

Walker, 40, was killed in a car crash in November 2013 during a break in filming. His two brothers and stand-ins replaced Walker to complete the movie.

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