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'Searching for Sugar Man' director dies at 36

STOCKHOLM (AP) - Malik Bendjelloul, the acclaimed Swedish film director behind the Oscar-winning music documentary "Searching for Sugar Man" has died. He was 36.

Police spokeswoman Pia Glenvik told The Associated Press that Bendjelloul died in Stockholm late Tuesday, but wouldn't specify the cause of death.

She said no crime is suspected in relation to the film maker's death.

"Searching for Sugar Man," which tells the story of how American singer Sixto Rodriguez became a superstar in South Africa without knowing about it, won the Oscar for best documentary in 2013. It was the first time a Swedish film won an Oscar since Ingmar Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander" in 1984.

The soft-spoken, unassuming Bendjelloul worked as a reporter for Sweden's public broadcaster SVT before resigning to travel the world. He got the idea for "Searching for Sugar Man" - his first feature film - during one of his trips, but it would take him more than four years to complete the film.

Bendjelloul was born in 1977 to Swedish translator Veronica Schildt Bendjelloul and doctor Hacene Bendjelloul and acted in Swedish TV-series "Ebba and Didrik" as a child during the 1990s. He studied journalism and media-production at the Linnaeus University of Kalmar in southern Sweden before joining SVT where he worked as a reporter on the culture program Kobra.

Bendjelloul's sudden death came as a shock to many in the close-knit Swedish film community.

"This terrible news has put us all in a state of shock," Swedish Film Institute spokesman Jan Goransson told the AP.

"Malik Bendjelloul was one of our most exciting film makers, which the Oscar award last year was a clear proof of," Goransson said.

Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas, who traveled with Bendjelloul to Hollywood when he received the Oscar, described him as a modest, but very determined man.

"He was an incredibly talented storyteller," Pallas wrote. "He had the strength of a marathon runner; to work on his film for so many years and sometimes without money, then you have a goal."

Bendjelloul is survived by his parents and brother Johar Bendjelloul. Funeral arrangements weren't immediately known.

Join the discussion

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djsmcdaniel May 13 2014 at 7:36 PM

Tragic loss & far too soon.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
supermolar May 13 2014 at 9:40 PM

shock? The guy looks like a skeleton in the picture. That should have been a heads up.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
joyceand supermolar May 13 2014 at 10:33 PM

Yes, I was thinking perhaps anorexia. Whatever it was, very sad.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Clint supermolar May 14 2014 at 12:38 AM

thanks so much for the astute observation.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
foosgram May 13 2014 at 9:45 PM

That's a shame some one so young. If I didn't know better he looks as he is suffering from something that took his life. So very sad. RIP. Bobbie

Flag Reply +2 rate up
SKCRCPUSCG May 13 2014 at 9:48 PM

Why not tell us what caused his death??

Flag Reply +1 rate up
8 replies
Larry May 13 2014 at 10:32 PM

Too many artists die all too young; and, sadly, some contribute to their own demise.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
Elizabeth Larry May 14 2014 at 2:27 AM

And some have illnesses over which they had no control at all. My brother-in-law died of cancer at 36.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
AWRAM May 13 2014 at 10:56 PM

I am willing to bet he died from AIDS......

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
Clint AWRAM May 14 2014 at 12:40 AM

why?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
latinguytony AWRAM May 14 2014 at 5:01 AM

You'd LOSE that bet buddy. Tho I can bet your going to DIE from something else !

Flag Reply 0 rate up
julianrob May 14 2014 at 12:34 AM

Searching for Sugarman was a great movie!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sylvabugg2 May 14 2014 at 12:48 AM

He looks anorexic. Perhaps that was the cause of death?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
toddpugz sylvabugg2 May 14 2014 at 1:28 AM

Aids maybe?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
3 replies
tpart May 14 2014 at 1:02 AM

Never heard of him

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
ranks88 tpart May 14 2014 at 4:20 AM

its ignorant to put that here, what is your very stupid point? I bet you have not heard anything worthwhile in your miserable life.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
spokajo May 13 2014 at 9:30 PM

What a shame!!! R.I.P.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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