Who Is John Singleton? New Details On The Legendary Film Director's Death At 51

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Who Is John Singleton? New Details On The Legendary Film Director's Death At 51

The world is not an easy place for a person of color to make their mark. Racism, prejudice, and ignorance can make it harder for people of color to achieve their dreams. Sadly, while that's true in many industries, it's also true in Hollywood. That's why it's so awesome when a person beats the odds and rises up as a legend. 

That's exactly what happened to filmmaker John Singleton. He refused to bow down to pressure from Hollywood and instead told his stories in his way. The result? A career that spans three decades and then some.

Unfortunately, his path wasn't always easy. Who is John Singleton?

On April 17th, Singleton suffered a stroke, and by April 25th, he was in a coma. A few days later, on April 29th, his family decided to remove him from life support.

Though early reports said Singleton had passed away, his publicist confirmed he was still on life support and alive. But hours later, his family announced their heartbreaking decision. The statement read:

“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.

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. 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.”

In light of his passing, we should all remember how his career began, and the impact he had on Hollywood.

1. He made his mark on television.

For years, the name John Singleton has been synonymous with the big screen. As a director and screenwriter (more on those accomplishments in just a little bit), Singleton was present on the scene since the early 1990s.

Recently, Singleton had been making his bread and butter (and receiving critical and audience acclaim) for directing TV shows like Empire, Billions, and The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. Those weren't his only hustles either. Singleton was teaching at his own alma mater, USC, where he was eager to share what he learned about filmmaking, directing, and the entertainment industry with students. 

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2. He had ties to the Jackson family.

For years, Singleton was been very close with the infamously private Jackson family clan. He was, in fact, such a trusted friend that he was hired to direct the video for Michael Jackson's song, "Remember The Time".

Michael is not the only Jackson he worked with; he directed Janet Jackson in the movie Poetic Justice. But just because he was close with the iconic family, it's not like he wasn't an established force to be reckoned with professionally in his own right. In fact, he also directed, Shaft, 2 Fast 2 Furious, AND Four Brothers. Not too shabby, right? 

3. He was seriously accomplished.

In case you haven't quite picked up this yet from what we have gone through so far, in Hollywood John Singleton was a total legend. It was that way since he burst onto the scene in 1991 with his classic flick Boyz n the Hood.

He went from being nobody to being nominated for two Oscars (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) in the blink of an eye, thanks to that picture. He was just 23 years old, becoming the youngest person ever nominated for both of those awards, and while he might not have walked home with a little gold man that night, that didn't mean he walked away feeling overly dejected. The recognition of the Academy helped skyrocket his career by just nominating him. 

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4. He suffered a minor stroke.

For all his directorial prowess, John Singleton was still a human being — and an aging one at that. Sure, at 51 he still had years of life left in him, but a recent event definitely scared his family, his friends and his fans.

He checked himself into the hospital late last week after feeling like his leg had suddenly become very, very weak. According to John's family members who have been contacting TMZ with updates, John was on a flight back from a trip to Costa Rica when his symptoms began. He expressed concern that it was the air pressure in the cabin that led to his feelings.

Whatever caused the it, doctors were able to identify the cause: it was a very mild stroke, and he required further tests and physical therapy. 

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5. Unfortunately, he passed away.

Before being taken off life support, his family contacted TMZ to set the record straight about a few facts regarding his stroke that people seem to have misconstrued.

While he felt the symptoms on the plane, according to his family, he did not have the actual stroke until he was already in the hospital. John was kept under a watchful eye in the ICU. His family also said to his fans, by way of TMZ, the following: "We ask that privacy be given to him and our family at this time and appreciate all of the prayers that have been pouring in from his fans, friends and colleagues."

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr