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Acclaimed director John Singleton dies

LOS ANGELES — Oscar-nominated director John Singleton, best known for helming the gritty South Los Angeles drama “Boyz n the Hood,” died April 29 after being removed from life support at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Singleton’s family announced earlier that they had made the “agonizing decision” to remove him from life support. By early afternoon, Singleton had died at age 51.

“John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends,” according to a statement released by the family’s publicist. “We want to thank the amazing doctors at 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.”

According to various media reports, Singleton suffered a stroke earlier this month at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he had gone complaining of leg pain.

Singleton, who also directed “Poetic Justice,” “Higher Learning,” “2 Fast 2 Furious” and the 2000 remake of “Shaft,” grew up in South Los Angeles, attended USC and produced the A&E documentary “L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later.”

He also co-created the FX series “Snowfall,” about the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles. Its third season is scheduled to begin later this year.

But it was Singleton’s directorial debut with “Boyz n the Hood,” for which he also wrote the screenplay, that defined his career. Singleton received Oscar nominations for best director and best original screenplay. He was the first African-American ever nominated for the best-director Oscar, as well as being the youngest-ever nominee in the category.

“John grew up in South Central L.A. with a love of cinema that showed itself early on,” the family’s statement said. “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 family noted that Singleton took pride in providing opportunities to new talent, including Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.

“Like many African Americans, Singleton quietly struggled with hypertension,” the family’s statement said. “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.”

Singleton is survived by his mother, Sheila Ward; his father, Danny Singleton; and his children Justice, Maasai, Hadar, Cleopatra, Selenesol, Isis and Seven.

The family said details about memorial services will be provided at a later date.

Wave Wire Services