Searching for Sugarman Director Committed Suicide

Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, whose 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” won the Oscar, committed suicide.

“I can confirm that it was suicide and that he had been depressed for a short period of time,” Johar Bendjelloul, brother of the director, told Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper today.

Bendjelloul died in Stockholm late Tuesday, but local police did not specify the cause of death.

“Searching for Sugar Man,” about the life and career of American singer Sixto Rodriguez, won the 2013 Best Documentary Oscar as well as awards from Bafta, the IDA, the PGA and the DGA.

Tributes were paid to him at the jury press conference of the Cannes film festival Wednesday. “He was a wonderful film-maker. I just feel really sorry for those left behind,” said Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn.

Born in Sweden, Bendjelloul appeared on TV as a child and then studied journalism and media production. He produced music documentaries for Swedish television and worked as a TV reporter before leaving to travel in Africa and South America.

“I saw him two weeks ago in London. He was so full of life, hope and optimism and happiness, and looking forward to the future and future collaborations. We were talking about working together and talking about specific ideas, so the idea that he is no longer is just too hard to process,” Chinn, producer of “Sugar Man” told the Associated Press news agency.