The Oscar-nominated writer and director of Boyz N the Hood was taken off of life support Monday, 13 days after a major stroke. John Singleton, 51, has been on life support since the stroke.
“John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends," Singleton's family said in a statement. "We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want thank all of John's fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time."
“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,” a spokesperson for the family said. “This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors.”
His spokesman noted that Singleton struggled with hypertension, adding: “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.”
In addition to Boyz N the Hood, Singleton’s work, which spanned genres and generations, included a remake of Shaft, historical films such as Rosewood, action films such as 2 Fast 2 Furious, and films that questioned the meaning of American masculinity such as Baby Boy and Four Brothers. He also worked with TV and streaming platforms as a director on hits like Billions, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Empire.
He is often celebrated for having the foresight to bring mega-talents like Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Ice Cube, Tyrese and Taraji P. Henson to the attention of the wider public. Henson and Tyrese were among the celebrities who visited Singleton in the hospital.
Early in his career, he directed the Michael Jackson music video for “Remember the Time.”
Boyz N the Hood remains one of the definitive movies of a generation. It also led to his Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at age 24; he was the youngest filmmaker and the first African American to earn a nomination in those categories. Boyz N the Hood is currently housed in the Library of Congress.
After Singleton’s stroke, his mother Sheila Ward triggered a legal battle when she asked to be named conservator so she could oversee his business affairs. Singleton’s daughter Cleopatra objected to Ward’s description of Singleton being in a coma, and filed court docs claiming he was “progressing every day.”
She said Ward has “abused” her position as Singleton’s manager and has “stated she plans to liquidate his assets immediately and leave his children with nothing.”