‘Boyz n the Hood’ director John Singleton dies at age 51

Director John Singleton died Monday at the age of 51.

The filmmaker behind Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice and 2 Fast 2 Furious had been hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering a major stroke on April 17.

There was some confusion Monday morning over whether he had died. Fox4 in Kansas City reported that Singleton’s family said he passed away. However, a Singleton’s publicist Shannon Barr told Yahoo, “John is still on life support. That reporting is inaccurate.” Soon after, Barr said the family made the “agonizing decision” to remove him from life support.

“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,” his family said in a statement, which can be read here. “This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors.”

Singleton’s death was confirmed by his agents at ICM Partners.

Singleton was described as “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 the statement.

The filmmaker put his name on the map at TK as with writing and directing debut, 1991’s Boyz n the Hood, for which he received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay. The directorial nod made him the first African American — and the youngest person, at 24 — to have been nominated for the award. The gut-wrenching urban drama starred Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ice Cube, Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne and focused on the lives of young men in South Central Los Angeles.

In his four-star review, Roger Ebert called Boyz n the Hood “one of the best American films of recent years,” adding: “The movie is a thoughtful, realistic look at a young man’s coming of age, and also a human drama of rare power - Academy Award material. Singleton is a director who brings together two attributes not always found in the same film: He has a subject, and he has a style. The film is not only important, but also a joy to watch, because his camera is so confident and he wins such natural performances from his actors.”

Boyz n the Hood was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress in 2002.

Singleton followed Boyz with 1993’s Poetic Justice, a tender but sharp romantic drama that paired musicians-turned-actors Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur.

Higher Learning (1995) looked at heated race relations on a fictional college campus and starred Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Ice Cube and Laurence Fishburne. “It’s chock full of everything that would concern young people: lesbianism, and racism, and everything I could put in that movie,” Singleton said of the film years later.

The 1997 historical drama Rosewood followed a 1923 massacre in which a white mob attacked the black residents of the titular Florida town. The film featured Ving Rhames, Jon Voight and Don Cheadle, and garnered the writer-director his best reviews since Boyz.

Singleton toward more commercial action fare in the late 90s and early 00s, rebooting the Blaxploitation favorite Shaft (2000) with Samuel L. Jackson, helming the first sequel to the franchise starter The Fast and the Furious with 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, and bringing Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Garrett Hedlund, and Outkast’s Andre Benjamin together in Four Brothers. He also directed Gibson in Baby Boy (2001) and Taylor Lautner in Abduction (2011).

Singleton’s family thanked his “fans, friends and colleagues for the outpour of love and prayers during this incredibly difficult time” as well as his doctors at Cedars Sinai “for the impeccable care he received.” It also noted that details about memorial services will be provided at a later date.

Singleton fell ill upon return to L.A. from a trip to Costa Rica and was hospitalized. While under medical care, he suffered a stroke, which was initially described as “mild,” but it apparently wasn’t. He was comatose and in the I.C.U.

His mother, Sheila Ward, who is also Singleton’s personal and business manager, filed to become his conservator last week, exposing the extent of his health problems. However, his adult daughter, Cleopatra Singleton, made her own filing stating Ward was “misrepresenting” the movie maker’s medical condition and said he wasn’t in a coma and was “progressing every day.” She added that he was “breathing on his own” and “has even smiled on many occasions.”

In addition to his extensive film work, Singleton recently co-created the crime drama Snowfall, which is set in 1980s Los Angeles, for FX. He’s also directed episodes of Empire and American Crime: The People v. O.J. Simpson.

“John was such a supernova in his youth that we forget that he was only beginning to fully assert his gifts as a director,” his family said in the statement. 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.”

John Daniel Singleton was be survived by his mother, father Danny Singleton and seven children: Justice, Maasai, Hadar, Cleopatra, Selenesol, Isis and Seven.

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HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: John Singleton attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)
Director John Singleton arrives for the 91st Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2019. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 21: (L-R) Spike Lee, John Singleton and Don Chedle attend the ICON Mann Power 150 Dinner at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on February 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 21: John Singleton and Angela Bassett attend the ICON MANN Power 150 Dinner at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on February 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 21: (L-R) John Singleton, Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee attend ICON MANN Power 150 Dinner at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on February 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 21: Kevin Feige, Ruth Carter and John Singleton attend ICON MANN Power 150 Dinner And Honors Celebrating Samuel L Jackson And Oscar Nominees Ruth Carter And Spike Lee reception at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on February 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 28: Mary J. Blige, Taraji P. Henson and John Singleton attend a ceremony honoring her with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on January 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 28: John Singleton attends a ceremony honoring Taraji P. Henson with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on January 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 28: Mary J. Blige, Taraji P. Henson and John Singleton attend a ceremony honoring Taraji P. Henson with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 28: Aldis Hodge and John Singleton attend the after party for Paramount Pictures and BET Films' "What Men Want" at W Westwood on January 28, 2019 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 02: John Singleton attends the 71st Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 02, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 02: John Landgraf and John Singleton attend the 71st Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 02, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for DGA)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 02: (L-R) John Singleton, Keri Russell , Matthew Rhys and Dennis Haysbert attend the 71st Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 02, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for DGA)
Actress Taraji P. Henson poses for a photo after her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star was unveiled as John Singleton (R) and Mary J. Blige look on during a ceremony in Hollywood, California on January 28, 2019, where she was the recipient of the 2,655th Star in the category of Motion Pictures. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Actress Taraji P. Henson reacts as John Singleton addresses the audience during Henson's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star ceremony in Hollywood, California on January 28, 2019, where she was the recipient of the 2,655th Star in the category of Motion Pictures. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: John Singleton (L) and actor Wade Allain-Marcus arrive at the premiere of FX's "Snowfall" Season 2 at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 on July 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: (L-R) Carter Hudson, Angela Lewis and John Singleton pose at the after party for the premiere of FX's "Snowfall" Season 2 at the Hotel Figueroa on July 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Director John Singleton (L) and actor Malcolm Mays arrive at the premiere of FX's "Snowfall" Season 2 at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 on July 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Director John Singleton (L) and actor Damson Idris arrive at the premiere of FX's "Snowfall" Season 2 at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 on July 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: John Singleton arrives to the Los Angeles premiere of FX's "Snowfall" Season 2 held at Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 on July 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
CENTURY CITY, CA - MAY 24: John Singleton attends the 20th Century Fox 2018 LA Screenings Gala at Fox Studio Lot on May 24, 2018 in Century City, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: John Singleton and Damson Idris attend the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
John Singleton arrives for the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Producer/director John Singleton attends the 2018 American Black Film Festival Honors Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 25, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
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