John Singleton has died; “Boyz N the Hood” director dies at 51, taken off life support following stroke

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John Singleton, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker best known for directing “Boyz N the Hood” and “Poetic Justice,” has died Monday after he was taken off life support following complications from a stroke, a family representative confirmed. He was 51.

“We are sad to relay that John Singleton has died. John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends,” the family statement said. “We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mourned the loss of the “youngest-ever Best Director nominee and an inspiration to us all.”

Jordan Peele, the Oscar-winning “Get Out” and “Us” filmmaker, tweeted, “RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything.”

Singleton’s family said he was hospitalized after suffering a stroke April 17. He had remained in intensive care since then and was reported to be in a coma last week. Singleton’s death was confirmed only hours after a spokesperson had to refute false reports that he had already passed.

John Singleton
Director John Singleton arrives at the 81st Annual Academy Awards held at Kodak Theatre on Feb. 22, 2009, in Los Angeles.

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Singleton became the first black filmmaker nominated for a Best Director Oscar for his debut feature from 1991, “Boys N The Hood.” He was only 24 at the time, and still remains the youngest director to receive that nomination. 

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His other major films include “Poetic Justice,” starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur; “2 Fast 2 Furious”; and a reboot of “Shaft” in 2000 with Samuel L. Jackson. Singleton also directed episodes of the hit shows “Empire” and “American Horror Story.”

At the time of his stroke, Singleton was working on a variety of projects, including his FX crime-drama “Snowfall,” which had been renewed for a third season. 

Singleton “left an indelible mark on the world through his masterful artistry and uncompromising humanity,” said his agents at ICM Partners. “He was a visionary filmmaker and social commentator who created a path for a new generation of filmmaker, many of whom he mentored, in a way they never saw possible.  His films and the incredible influence they had will be studied forever.”

Through his career, Singleton was outspoken about the struggles that black filmmakers faced getting their stories told. It was an issue he spoke up about through the final weeks of his life.

“It’s still very hard to get a film or a TV show on the air,” he told the Daily Beast in February. “It’s very, very difficult to get any type of pure vision out anywhere. But we’re trying. We’re still trying.”

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