The family of Boyz n the Hood director John Singleton issued a statement announcing that he has died after being taken off life support. The sad news comes just a few days after it broke that the director had been hospitalised after suffering a stroke and was being cared for in an intensive care unit.
Singleton staked his place in cinema history when he became the first black American to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director for his 1991 debut feature Boyz n the Hood, which was set in his native South Central Los Angeles. Though Singleton lost out to Jonathan Demme and The Silence of the Lambs, Boyz n the Hood is nevertheless hailed as one of the best films of the 1990s and is included on the National Film Registry, which recognises historically, culturally or aesthetically significant movies. Though Singleton’s last film directing credit was 2011’s Abduction, the filmmaker had recently made the switch to television, directing episodes of Empire and American Crime Story’s first season, which focused on the trial of OJ Simpson. Singleton also recently executive produced the police drama series Rebel and Emmy-nominated documentary L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later and created the TV show Snowfall - an ambitious drama focusing on the crack epidemic in early 1980s Los Angeles.
Now, CNN reports Singleton has died after his family made the decision to turn off life support. Singleton's family issued the following statement:
John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his friends and family. We want to thank the amazing doctors as Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want [to] thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time.
Earlier today, The Wrap reported that his family had made the decision to switch off the director’s life support machine 13 days after he suffered his stroke. Part of the initial statement issued by Singleton’s family read:
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. This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors.
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.
In addition to his groundbreaking debut Boyz n the Hood, Singleton also went on to direct several more movies in the 1990s including Poetic Justice, Higher Learning and Rosewood. The following decade saw him direct a remake of Shaft - which has recently been rebooted by director Tim Story - alongside action film 2 Fast 2 Furious and crime thriller Four Brothers.
Many of Singleton’s films focused on the experience of being black in modern-day America and the director was an active critic of movie studios that don’t let black filmmakers direct films about black people. He also helped nurture the careers of several fellow black Americans in the film industry including Cuba Gooding Jr, Taraji P. Henson and future Morbius star Tyrese Gibson.
The family statement issued also thanked Singleton’s fans, friends, colleagues and hospital staff for their support and confirmed that details about the director’s memorial service will be announced in due course.
Rest in Peace John Singleton: January 6, 1968 - April 29, 2019