Sad news to report. Oscar-nominated movie director John Singleton has reportedly died. He was only 51 years old. His family removed him from life support on Monday, the New York Times reported. TMZ, Yahoo News and Fox News also reported Singleton died Monday.
The legendary filmmaker and screenwriter suffered a stroke on April 17 and checked himself into a hospital after experiencing weakness in his leg. He was reportedly traveling back home from Costa Rica and the plane flight may have triggered the medical emergency. TMZ reported the stroke as “mild.”
His spokesperson released a statement earlier Monday announcing the family intended to take Singleton off of life support.
“John Singleton is a prolific, ground-breaking director who changed the game and opened doors in Hollywood, a world that was just a few miles away, yet worlds away, from the neighborhood in which he grew up,” the statement said in part. “John grew up in South Central L.A with a love of cinema that showed itself early on. He went on to become one of the most lauded graduates of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Within months of graduating, John returned to South Central to shoot his debut feature, Boyz N the Hood. The movie, which was unusually shot in sequence, masterfully captured a story of friendship, youth and the peril of hard choices in a community marred by gang violence. The film earned special honors at its debut at Cannes and Singleton went onto become the youngest director and first African-American writer-director nominated for the Academy Award. Two decades later, the film was placed in the Library of Congress, a marker of its cultural and historical significance.”
1991’s “Boyz n the Hood” earned Singleton an Oscar nomination for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. He was the youngest filmmaker to be nominated in those categories. He was also the first African-American to be nominated for Best Director and has directed episodes of “The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story,” “Empire,” and “Billions.” In addition, he won two NAACP Image Awards along with an MTV Movie Award.
Approximately 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, making it the fifth leading cause of death for Americans. For African-Americans, however, the risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high compared to whites. Blacks also suffer the highest rate of death due to stroke. A stroke also occurs earlier in life for African-Americans compared to other racial and ethnic groups, according to the National Stroke Association.
There were conflicting reports about Singleton’s health early Monday morning. Some news outlets wrote that the filmmaker had died before his rep quickly issued a statement saying Singleton was still alive and on life support. He had been placed into a medically induced coma last week.
The Los Angeles native leaves behind four children, his mother, his estranged father and his girlfriend. They were all jockeying for position to control the filmmaker’s fortune worth tens of millions of dollars, according to reports. One website had Singleton’s net worth listed at $30 million.
Rest in power, John Singleton.