‘Boyz n the hood’ director John Singleton has died, aged 51

Celebrities have flocked to social media to pay emotional tributes to ‘prolific’ Academy Award-nominated director John Singleton, who died on Monday afternoon after his family switched off his life support machine. 

Singleton’s family announced their difficult decision a gut-wrenching statement earlier today, less than two weeks after he suffered a major stroke and was placed in a medically-induced coma.

The 51-year-old’s health drastically deteriorated on April 17, shortly after he checked himself into the Cedars-Sinai hospital, in California, having experienced pain in his legs during a run in Costa Rica days earlier.

Now, social media is rife with tributes from A-list stars remembering Singleton as a pioneer of cinema who undoubtedly ‘changed a culture with his art’. 

‘Rest In Power, my friend. One of the greatest to ever do it,’ said actress and director Regina King, in an emotional Instagram post alongside a slideshow of photos showing the pair together.

‘Thank you GOD for blessing us with this gift better known as John Singleton. Having trouble finding enough words to share just what you mean to me. Will always love you John! Your spirit will forever shine bright.’ 

Celebrities have flocked to social media to pay emotional tributes to ‘prolific’ Academy Award-nominated director John Singleton, who died on Monday afternoon 

Singleton became the first black director to be nominated for an Oscar, for his debut film ‘Boyz n the Hood’ (pictured in 1991)

Legendary rapper Snoop Dogg credited Singleton for both inspiring and platforming young black actors to stardom

King’s post was followed up a short while later by musician and actor Jamie Foxx, who cited Singleton’s profound impact on film. 

‘God blessings… you changed a culture with your art…and impacted the world with your vision… my prayers are still up… hoping for a miracle,’ Foxx said. 

Fellow Academy Award-nominated director Ava DuVernay took to Twitter to say how Singleton’s trailblazing works and personal support network have helped lay the foundations of her own artistic visions.

‘Lifting my highest thoughts + prayers of intercession for John Singleton. His films helped form me. His kindness lifted me up,’ DuVernay’s post began. 

‘I remember him coming to the premiere of my indie years ago. Showing love/support for a fellow black director from LA. He is a lovely man. Pray with me.’

Chance the Rapper and ‘Get Out’ director Jordan Peele also waded in with their own words of condolence and admiration, with Peele noting that Singleton simply ‘changed everything’.  

Fellow Academy Award-nominated director Ava DuVernay took to Twitter to speak of Singleton’s influence on her work

Actress Regina King (center) – who starred in Boyz n the Hood – uploaded three photos alongside her Instagram tribute, with one picture showing Singleton (left) with members of the main cast (left to right) Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Morris Chestnut

Actor and director Michael Rapaport credits his career to Singleton, having starred in the 51-year-old’s 1995 film, Higher Learning

Chance the Rapper also waded in with his own complementary word, expressing regret at never having got to have met the director who ‘changed my life’

Jordan Peele, the director of ‘Get Out’, called Singleton an ‘inspiration’ and a visionairy 

According to an earlier report by TMZ, Singleton had been in a medically-induced coma and was no longer responding to treatment as of Monday morning. 

Doctors said his condition showed no signs of improvement, tragically leaving his family with only one harrowing option. 

‘This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors,’ his family said in a statement Monday 

‘John Singleton is 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.

‘We are grateful to his fans, friends and colleagues for the outpouring of love and prayers during this incredibly difficult time,’ the statement continued. ‘We want to thank all the doctors at Cedars Sinai for the impeccable care he received.’

According to his family, Singleton had a long-history of suffering with hypertension, a condition common among African-American men that is caused by high blood pressure placing strain on functions of the heart.

‘More than 40% of African American men and women have high blood pressure, which also develops earlier in life and is usually more severe.’

Rest In Power, my friend. One of the greatest to ever do it,’ said actress and director Regina King (shown left with Singleton), in an emotional Instagram post

‘John Singleton was a true inspiration,’ said author Joy Reid

King’s post was followed up a short while later by musician and actor Jamie Foxx, who cited Singleton as having an profound impact on film

Three 6 Mafia rapper Juicy J revealed an text exchange between himself and Singleton, suggesting the pair were in the early stages of piecing together a biopic about the Memphis based Hip Hop group

Boyz n the Hood cast-member Morris Chestnut paid tribute to ‘prolific’ John Singleton

Yesterday, actress Taraji P. Henson – who collaborated with Singleton on a number of films – visited the father-of-five in hospital and claimed he ‘jumped up’ in his comatose state when he heard her voice. 

Script-writer, producer and author Shondar Himes recalled an anecdote she shared with Singleton when she was a struggling student

‘Visited you today. Me and @tyrese prayed so hard over you. You heard my voice and jumped up,’ Henson said in an Instagram post. ‘I HAVE HOPE AND FAITH BECAUSE I KNOW THAT #GODIS. Keep praying EVERYBODY for our beloved @johnsingleton.’

On Monday, Three 6 Mafia rapper Juicy J revealed an text exchange between himself and Singleton, suggesting the pair were in the early stages of piecing together a biopic about the Memphis based Hip Hop group – which J believes would’ve been a shoe-in for an Oscar win.

‘John Singleton was a true inspiration,’ said author Joy Reid. ‘He made movies that told our stories and he showed us that their could be limitless possibilities for young, black, creative people.’

Script-writer, producer and author Shondar Himes said she was personally offered words of encouragement from Singleton when she was a struggling student, shortly after the release of Boyz n the Hood.

‘There was a time when I was struggling to pay my bills in film school and not sure this town was for me.

‘And one day…My phone rang. It was John Singleton. John did not know me at all. But someone at USC had told him I was talented and he was kindly calling to offer me some words of encouragement.

 ‘He told me to keep writing. I never forgot it.’

News of Singleton’s ailing condition has caused conflict to break out among a number of his family members who are battling to take control of his estate – which is valued at $1.4 million, recently released documents show. 

His mother, Shelia Ward, requested that a judge appoint her as the temporary conservator of Singleton’s affairs, because he is currently ‘unable to properly provide for his personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter,’ and does not have any medical directives.

She said that her son was involved in a number of business ventures and recently agreed to sign a sizable settlement agreement. 

Ward argues that she is the best person to handle those affairs and execute the agreement on Singleton’s behalf, while he’s in a coma.  

Singleton’s other films include ‘Poetic Justice,’ starring Janet Jackson (shown right) and Tupac Shakur, ‘Shaft’, ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ and ‘Four Brothers’

News of Singleton’s ailing condition has caused conflict to break out between a number of his family members who are battling to take control of his estate, including his mother, Shela Ward (pictured left in 2003)

However, Singleton’s 21-year-old daughter, Cleopatra, public disputed Ward’s description of her father’s condition, insisting it wasn’t as severe as her grandmother had claimed.

‘My father is not in a coma… My dad is progressing every day…My father is breathing on his own. He is only medically sedated to keep his blood pressure low and allow the vessels in his brain to heal.’

Cleopatra also added that her father’s state was yet to be diagnosed by doctors, and she called her grandmother’s motives for wanting to take control of Singleton’s fortune ‘disturbing’.

‘My grandmother’s intentions toward my father and his children are disturbing,’ Cleopatra said. ‘She cannot be [a] conservator of his person or his estate.’

Singleton became the first ever African-American director to be nominated for an Oscar, following his debut film ‘Boyz n the Hood’, which was released in 1991. 

Singleton (pictured in 2003) was in a medically-induced coma and was no longer responding to treatment as of Monday morning. His condition wasn’t improving, doctors said

The 51-year-old suffered a stroke on April 17 shortly after having experienced pain in his legs during a run in Costa Rica days earlier

Just 24 at the time, he also secured a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

When the script was first commissioned, it’s said that Singleton was offered $100,000 to relinquish his position as director on the production, as executives said they’d prefer a more experienced candidate.

However, he refused, instead telling them ‘I’m doing this movie. This is the movie I was born to make’.

He remains to be the youngest ever director to be nominated for an Oscar. 

His other films include ‘Poetic Justice,’ starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur, ‘Shaft’, ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ and ‘Four Brothers’.

More recently his show ‘Snowfall’, of which he co-created, had been renewed by FX for the third season.  

RIP: Actor Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, 77, passed away at his home in Palmdale, California; he is best known for playing a dirty police officer in hit drama 1991’s Boyz N The Hood

On Friday, ‘Boyz n the Hood’ actor Jessie Lawrence Ferguson was found dead in his California home, aged 77. 

His son says he found his father in his bed with the TV on, and that he seemed to be healthy in the days leading up to his death.

So far there’s no word on an official cause of death, although police have already deemed that nothing suspicious was found at the scene. 

Singleton is survived by five children, Justice Maya Singleton, 26; son Maasai Mohandas Singleton, 25; daughter, Hadar Singleton, 23; daughter Cleopatra Singleton, 21; and daughter Isis, who was born in 2010. 

FAMILY STATEMENT ON THE PLANS TO TAKE SINGLETON OFF 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. This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors.

John Singleton is 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.

John grew up in South Central L.A with a love of cinema that showed itself early on. 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 film earned special honors at its debut at Cannes and Singleton went onto become the youngest director and first African-American writer-director nominated for the Academy Award. Two decades later, the film was placed in the Library of Congress, a marker of its cultural and historical significance.

John loved nothing more than giving opportunities to new talent and his films came to be known for career -making roles with actors who the industry would come to embrace; talents such as Tupac Shakur, Regina King, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Ice Cube, Tyrese and Taraji P. Henson.

Singleton’s work spanned genres and showcased his curiosity and creativity: the remake of Shaft, was a homage to his mentor, Gordon Parks. He also made historical films such as Rosewood and action films such as 2 Fast 2 Furious. Films like Baby Boy and Four Brothers were prescient in the questions they posed about men and the crisis in American masculinity. As streaming platforms created new opportunities in television, Singleton took his talents to shows such as Billions, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Empire. Most recently, he co-created and executive produced the current FX hit drama series Snowfall, in which he engaged such writing talents as Walter Mosley.

John was such a supernova in his youth that we forget that he was only beginning to fully assert his gifts as a director. 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.

In his private life, John is a loving and supporting father, son, brother, and friend who believed in higher education, black culture, old school music and the power of film.

John’s confidence in his place in Hollywood was only matched for his passion for the sea. John kayaked in Marina Del Rey every morning. His greatest joy, when not on set, was sailing his boat, J’s Dream, up and down the Pacific Coast. The American writer Willa Cather once said, “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in the storm.” We who have grown up with John, made movies with him, sailed with John and laughed with John, know the universe of calm and creativity he created for so many. Now in the wake of his death, we must navigate the storm without him. It is, for us, heartbreaking.

Like many African Americans, Singleton quietly struggled with hypertension. 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.

We are grateful to his fans, friends and colleagues for the outpour of love and prayers during this incredibly difficult time. We want to thank all the doctors at Cedars Sinai for the impeccable care he received.

John Daniel Singleton will be survived by his extraordinary mother, Sheila Ward, his father, Danny Singleton and his children Justice, Maasai, Hadar, Cleopatra, Selenesol, Isis, and Seven.

Details about memorial services will be provided at a later date.

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