Entertainment News

  • 15 May 2014, 7:22

Oscar Winner Malik Bendjelloul Commits Suicide

The Oscar winning documentary maker Malik Bendjelloul has committed suicide at the age of 36, his brother has said.

Swedish police spokeswoman PiaGlenvik told the AP news agency that the man behind Searching for Sugar Man died in Stockholm on Tuesday, but would not say how he had died or where his body was found.

His brother JoharBendjelloul told the Swedish daily Aftonbladethe had been struggling with depression and took his own life.

"Life is not always simple," he was was quoted as saying.

"I don't know how to handle it. I don't know."

The music documentary that saw Bendjelloulrise to fame told the story of the American singer Sixto Rodriguez, who had no idea he had become a huge star in South Africa.

It won the Oscar for best documentary in 2013 and also earned Bendjelloul a BAFTA.

Bendjelloul worked as reporter for Sweden's public broadcaster SVT before leaving to travel around the world.

It was during a trip to Cape Town that he stumbled upon Rodriguez's story.

The singer had disappeared from public life in the US but developed a cult following among white liberals in South Africa.

It took Bendjelloul more than four years to finish the film and had to use his savings to ensure it was completed.

Towards the end he shot parts of it on his phone and made his own animations.

At the time of his death Bendjelloul was working on a film about a man who could communicate with elephants.

Swedish Film Institute spokesman Jan Goransson told AP: "This terrible news has put us all in a state of shock.

"Malik Bendjelloul was one of our most exciting film makers, which the Oscar award last year was a clear proof of."

Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas described him as an "incredibly talented storyteller".

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