Director and screenwriter John Singleton has died after he was taken off life support following a major stroke, his family said in a statement.
Singleton’s family said earlier Monday that the decision was a difficult one.
“This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors,” the statement said.
The first African American to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, Singleton was praised for his work, which represented African American life in Los Angeles and elsewhere. His first film, 1991’s “Boyz N the Hood,” propelled him into stardom.
TMZ reported that Singleton, 51, had been in a coma since suffering a stroke April 17. On Monday morning, the tabloid site reported that he was still in a medically-induced coma and not improving.
“Entertainment Tonight” reported Shelia Ward, Singleton’s mother, asked to be appointed a temporary conservator because the filmmaker is “unable to properly provide for his personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter.”
The conservatorship came as Singleton did not have any medical directives and was involved in numerous business projects and a settlement agreement, TMZ reported.
“On Wednesday, April 17, our beloved son/father, John Singleton, suffered a stroke while at the hospital. John is currently in the ICU and under great medical care,” Singleton’s family said in a statement at the time. “We ask that privacy be given to him and our family at this time and appreciate all of the prayers that have been pouring in from his fans, friends and colleagues. Thank you, The Singleton Family.”
Singleton’s family issued the following statement confirming his death:
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our beloved son, father and friend, John Daniel Singleton passed away today due to complications from a stroke he suffered last Wednesday.
“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.
“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.
“John loved nothing more than giving opportunities to new talent and his films came to be known for career -making roles with actors who the industry would come to embrace; talents such as Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Ice Cube, Tyrese and Taraji P. Henson.
“Singleton’s work spanned genres and showcased his curiosity and creativity: the remake of Shaft, was a homage to his mentor, Gordon Parks. He also made historical films such as Rosewood and action films such as 2 Fast 2 Furious. Films like Baby Boy and Four Brothers were prescient in the questions they posed about men and the crisis in American masculinity. As streaming platforms created new opportunities in television, Singleton took his talents to shows such as ‘Billions,’ ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’ and ‘Empire.’ Most recently, he co-created and executive produced the current FX hit drama series ‘Snowfall,’ in which he engaged such writing talents as Walter Mosley.
“John was such a supernova in his youth that we forget that he was only beginning to fully assert his gifts as a director. Kurosawa was 52 when he directed ‘High Low.’ Hitchcock was 56 when he directed ‘To Catch a Thief.’ As much as we will treasure his body of work, we were looking forward to the films John would have made in the years ahead.
“In his private life, John is a loving and supporting father, son, brother, and friend who believed in higher education, black culture, old school music and the power of film.
“John’s confidence in his place in Hollywood was only matched for his passion for the sea. John kayaked in Marina Del Rey every morning. His greatest joy, when not on set, was sailing his boat, J’s Dream, up and down the Pacific Coast. The American writer Willa Cather once said, ‘There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in the storm.’ We who have grown up with John, made movies with him, sailed with John and laughed with John, know the universe of calm and creativity he created for so many. Now in the wake of his death, we must navigate the storm without him. It is, for us, heartbreaking.
“Like many African Americans, Singleton quietly struggled with hypertension. More than 40% of African American men and women have high blood pressure, which also develops earlier in life and is usually more severe. His family wants to share the message with all to please recognize the symptoms by going to Heart.org.
“We are grateful to his fans, friends and colleagues for the outpour of love and prayers during this incredibly difficult time. We want to thank all the doctors at Cedars Sinai for the impeccable care he received.
“John Daniel Singleton will be survived by his extraordinary mother, Sheila Ward, his father, Danny Singleton and his children Justice, Maasai, Hadar, Cleopatra, Selenesol, Isis, and Seven.
Details about memorial services will be provided at a later date.”
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