Condolences: John Singleton Has Died
Sadly, John Singleton has passed at the age of 51. Earlier today (April 29th), his family released a statement noting that he would be taken off life support. The famed director had been in a Los Angeles hospital for 13 days after suffering a major stroke. The family said in a statement:
John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends. 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.
Early Monday morning, there were reports that he had already passed.
However, Singleton’s rep denied the news.
See his family’s statement below.
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.
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.
Celebrities have shared their condolences on social media.
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My history with John Singleton goes back further than most know. Years ago I was given a script that was dead and in the vault @ Sony Pictures. It had been purchased and shelved for some time, Stephanie Elaine who is now a great success story, but was just a junior executive at Sony, gave it to me. I took it to John Peters in Hawaii, who was chairman of Sony pictures, I got a green light. I remember like it was yesterday, when the-then president Frank Price finally realized how important and special a script it was and started “sneaking around” to produce the movie without me. John, who was a hungry young filmmaker ,but not that hungry …Infact he said said that he WOULD NOT do the movie without me, even though Frank said he would raise the budget and do it in house. He Mr frank price said, to John That I “was not experienced enough to produce it.” John fought for me but We were at an impasse, ….I decided to bow out. Shortly after Def jam got hot again and SONY paid much more than the producers fee so it all worked out. I ended up with a multiple of what I would’ve been paid because i got a lifelong friend. The important fact is that John was going to forfeit his debut opportunity for me, FOR INTEGRITY, and that stuck with me and us for a whole lifetime. I have loved him since the day he sat in my house and shared me details about The conspiracy of the senior Sony team and especially the president of the company. That was such a brave and honorable thing to do … This story is about a beautiful man with a heart of GOLD! Im praying for you dear brother, and for your family. We all know /knew your heart! You are in all of our prayers..For sure, God favors you and will be pleased with you ….
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Damn, this was just the other week ago… I hate doing these post and social media tributes because deep in my heart I don’t feel like they are truly sincere or can even measure up to who we are as people. Is this really for John or just for the likes??? Do we value the attention or the Spirit??? I’m still confused by it all. But brotha this was our last conversation and though I sensed something was up, you took the time to come out and support me and whispered some power wisdom and words of encouragement in my ear. Meant so much to me, knowing that one of the greats had my back! I was humbled then and even more humbled now, that you just took the time. A true Jegna , Visionary, King that wasn’t too self-absorbed to pour into others. You’ve given so many people opportunities and fed into your community with your art and creative leadership. I salute your Eternal Spirit and your work will live on forever. Fight the good fight! Undying Spirit! #Faithful Job Well Done King!?? @JohnSingleton
Singleton was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer best known for directing Boyz n the Hood (1991). For the film, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, becoming the first African American and youngest person to have ever been nominated for the award. Singleton was a native of South Los Angeles and many of his early films, such as Poetic Justice (1993), Higher Learning (1995), and Baby Boy (2001), consider the implications of inner-city violence. Some of his other films include dramas such as Rosewood (1997) in addition to action films such as Shaft (2000), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), and Four Brothers (2005). He recently co-created the crime drama Snowfall.
Please send your thoughts and prayers to his family.