Gerard Butler: Paul Walker's Death 'Just Broke My Heart'

12/06/2013 at 02:20 PM EST

Gerard Butler: Paul Walker's Death 'Just Broke My Heart'
From left: Gerard Butler, Francis O'Connor and Paul Walker in Timeline
Philippe Bosse/Paramount Pictures
Like so many others who knew Paul Walker personally, Gerard Butler is mourning the untimely loss of the actor.

The two costarred together in 2003's Timeline, and Butler says that news of this weekend's fatal car crash "just broke my heart." He calls Walker "one of the nicest people I've met."

Butler was in Miami during Art Basel for a private dinner celebrating luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis in partnership with Dom Perignon on Wednesday. And he not only discussed his upcoming London is Rising role as secret service agent Mike Banning, but as a real-life hero in an incident that took place 20 years ago.

"This kid I saved when he was 13, basically he was drowning," said Butler, 44.

Now grown up, this same fellow "just got married in England, and he wrote me the most beautiful email, so I recorded a message for his wedding basically saying I feel like I've been here for all the most important times in your life."

Speaking earlier this year to Scotland's Daily Record, Butler recalled of the incident: "I was with my mother and we suddenly heard this screaming. ... I looked around and nobody else had paid any attention, so I thought, 'Am I imagining this?'

"So ... I look into the water and this kid is just disappearing, moving down the river. I went in and I pulled him out, and there was a scary moment because I've never had to save anyone's life before. I didn't really know what I was doing. But we got him out and he wrote me a letter afterwards."

Said Butler, "It was a really beautiful note just saying thank you for taking the time."

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