Pop idol Justin Bieber offered prayers on Wednesday -- and called for tougher laws against paparazzi -- after a photographer was killed on a freeway while trying to get a picture of his Ferrari.
Police in Los Angeles said the 18-year-old Canadian-born heartthrob was not in the luxury sports car when it was pulled over for speeding on New Year's Day and the unidentified photographer was hit by an oncoming vehicle.
"While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim," said Bieber in a statement relayed to several US showbiz websites.
"Hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves," he added.
Los Angeles photographer Thibault Mauvilain told reporters at the scene that the fatality was a friend named Chris who was a photographer but "not a paparazzo -- he was just another kid from New Mexico."
Bieber, who performed on New Year's Eve at Times Square in New York, has a history of run-ins with paparazzi. In May he allegedly kicked and punched a photographer in a parking lot, but no charges were filed.
MORE ON JUSTIN BIEBER'S NON-MUSIC NEWS STORIES
Justin Bieber has been making news for things besides music for years - even when he's not there. Here's a look at some of the 18-year-old's more recent headlines:
* Jan. 1, 2013:
A paparazzo is struck by a car and killed in West Los Angeles while pursuing photos of Bieber's white Ferrari. Bieber was not in the car.
* Nov. 21, 2012: Prosecutors opt not to file charges against Bieber after finding insufficient evidence that he punched and kicked a photographer outside a movie theater near his home in Calabasas, Calif., a month earlier.
* Nov. 14, 2011: A judge dismisses counts filed under California's anti-paparazzi law against photographer Paul Raef, who was charged in July with being involved in a high-speed pursuit of the pop star along a San Fernando Valley freeway.* Oct. 10, 2012: Bieber tweets that some of his belongings, including a laptop, were stolen during a show in Tacoma, Wash. Suggestions soon surface on the Internet that the story was a publicity stunt, prompting Bieber's publicist to issue a statement insisting the theft really happened. A police investigation was inconclusive.
* Sept. 30, 2012: Bieber vomits twice onstage during a concert in Glendale, Ariz. The video goes viral.
* July 13, 2012: A woman sues Bieber for $9.2 million claiming she suffered permanent hearing loss at his concert in Portland, Ore.
* July 6, 2012: Bieber is cited for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway. He told police he was being chased by paparazzi.
* May 28, 2012: Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators question Bieber after he reportedly scuffled with paparazzi who tried to photograph him and girlfriend Selena Gomez as they left a movie theater.
* Oct. 31, 2011: A San Diego woman files a paternity suit against Bieber, claiming he fathered her baby boy during a tryst when the singer was 16. Bieber called the claims "crazy."
* Aug. 30, 2011: Bieber is involved in a minor car accident in his Ferrari in Studio City, Calif.
* May 7, 2011: Bieber agrees to record a public service announcement against cyberbullying to resolve criminal charges against his manager and a record executive after an autograph signing caused a fan frenzy at a New York mall in 2009.
* March 3, 2011: A lock of Bieber's hair sells for $40,000 on eBay.
* Dec. 9, 2010: Barbara Walters prophetically includes Bieber in her "10 Most Fascinating People" TV special.
(With inputs from AP)