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John Singleton, ‘Boyz n the Hood’ Director, Dead at 51

Singleton earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director thanks to his breakout 1991 drama "Boyz n the Hood."

John Singleton

John Singleton

Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind “Boyz n the Hood,” has died at the age of 51. The director was hospitalized April 20 because of the stroke and was put into a medically-induced coma several days after. The director’s mother, Sheila Ward, requested a judge to appoint her temporary conservatorship at the time because Singleton was “unable to properly provide for his personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter.” Singleton was taken off life support today, April 26. The director’s family confirmed the decision to Deadline.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our beloved son, father and friend, John Daniel Singleton will be taken off of life support today,” a spokesperson for the family said in a statement. “This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors… 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.”

Singleton suffered from high blood pressure (hypertension) throughout his life, which was one of the leading causes of his stroke. The statement reads: “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.”

Singleton made his feature directorial debut in 1991 with “Boyz n the Hood,” starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Angela Bassett, Ice Cube, and Laurence Fishburne. Released to critical acclaim and commercial success (the film made $57 million at the U.S. box office for Columbia Pictures on a budget of $6.5 million), the drama resulted in Singleton’s first Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Singleton’s nomination at the 64th Academy Awards for Best Director made him not only the youngest nominee ever in the category but also the first black filmmaker nominated for the directing Oscar.

Following “Boyz n the Hood,” Singleton went on to direct films such as “Poetic Justice” (1993), “Higher Learning” (1995), “Rosewood” (1997), “Shaft” (2000), “Baby Boy” (2001), “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003), “Four Brothers” (2005), and “Abduction” (2011). Singleton’s work extended to television as well with directing credits on episodes of “Empire,” “American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson,” “Rebel,” and “Snowfall.” Singleton co-created the latter for FX. “Snowfall,” a drama about Los Angeles’ first crack epidemic in 1983, has aired two seasons and is currently in development on a third season to air later this year.

Singleton was treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. Since news of the director’s stroke was first publicized, many of his former Hollywood collaborators and industry friends sent thoughts and prayers on social media, including Viola Davis, Mark Wahlberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Pam Grier.

The family’s statement mentioned “details about memorial services will be provided at a later date.” Singleton is survived by his mother and father, Danny Singleton, plus his children Justice, Maasai, Hadar, Cleopatra, Selenesol, Isis, and Seven. Read the family’s full statement on Deadline.

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