US film director John Singleton dead at age 51

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – John Singleton, who made his directorial debut with the acclaimed film Boyz n the Hood about young men struggling in a gang-ridden Los Angeles neighbourhood, died on Monday (April 29) at the age of 51, his family said, days after he suffered a stroke.

“We are sad to relay that John Singleton has died,” the family said in a statement. “John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends.”

Earlier on Monday, the family said it had made the”agonising decision” to withdraw life support from Singleton, who was being cared for at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles since having a stroke on April 17.

Singleton was a native of South Central Los Angeles, the community that was the setting for Boyz n the Hood, a drama about friendship amid the peril of gang violence.

He became the first African-American and the youngest person to be nominated for an Academy award for best director, at age 24, for the movie, which he also wrote.

Singleton later directed films such as action film 2 Fast 2 Furious and historical drama Rosewood. He also directed episodes of TV shows including “Empire” and “Billions.”

Most recently, Singleton was the co-creator and executive producer of FX network TV series Snowfall about the start of the cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles.

His family said Singleton was “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”.

He also “loved nothing more than giving opportunities to new talent” including Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Ice Cube and Taraji P. Henson, the family said.

Hollywood celebrities paid tribute to Singleton on Monday.

“John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything,” filmmaker Jordan Peele wrote on Twitter.

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