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Malik Bendjelloul: ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ Director Dies At 36

Wed, May 14, 2014 2:27pm EDT by HL Intern Add first Comment
Malik Bendjelloul Dead

Tragic news. Malik Bendjelloul, the Swedish director of the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man’, has been found dead in Stockholm, Sweden.

Malik Bendjelloul was only 36 at the time of his death. His brother, Johar Bendjelloul, confirmed to The Associated Press that the acclaimed director had committed suicide on May 13. It’s believed that Malik had been struggling with depression before his death. Police would not comment on the cause of death but said they suspected no foul play.

Malik Bendjelloul Dead: ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ Director Dies At 36

Malik’s Brother, Johar, said that receiving the message that his brother had committed suicide was the worst thing he had ever experienced. “Life is not always simple,” he said, adding, “I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know.”

The filmmaker rose to international fame after his debut feature film, Searching for Sugar Man, won an Oscar for best documentary in 2013. The music documentary tells the story of Detroit-based singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who saw his career plummet in the United States, but then became a superstar in apartheid-era South Africa without even knowing about it.

Malik previously worked as a reporter for Sweden’s public broadcaster, SVT, before resigning to backpack around the world. He got the idea for “Searching for Sugar Man” on that epic trip, and then went on to spend the next four years focusing on completing the film.

Malik Will Be Remembered For His Kindness & Enthusiasm

The Oscar-winner was widely known for his kindness, enthusiasm and high spirits and his death has shocked and saddened many who knew him, including British film producer Simon Chinn, who produced Searching for Sugar Man.

“It seems so unbelievable,” Simon told the AP over the telephone. “He had everything to live for. He was so full of life, hope and optimism and happiness, and looking forward to the future and future collaborations,” he said. ‘The idea that he is no longer is just too hard to process.”

How sad! Malik obviously left behind a very caring circle of family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Malik’s loved ones during this difficult time.

— Brittany King

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