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John Singleton dies at 51 after suffering stroke

At 24, Singleton became the youngest and the first black filmmaker to receive an Oscar nomination for best director and best original screenplay for "Boyz n the Hood."
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"Boyz n the Hood" director John Singleton died Monday due to complications from a stroke he suffered almost two weeks ago.

He was 51.

His family announced his death shortly after they confirmed that he had been taken off life support.

"John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends," they said in a statement.

"John Singleton left an indelible mark on the world through his masterful artistry and uncompromising humanity," talent agency ICM Partners, which signed Singleton in 2014, said in a statement. "He was a visionary filmmaker and social commentator who created a path for a new generation of filmmaker, many of whom he mentored, in a way they never saw possible."

The Academy Award-nominated director was placed in a medically-induced coma after suffering a stroke April 17 while in the hospital. He reportedly had checked himself into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after experiencing weakness in his leg, according to TMZ.

At 24, Singleton became the youngest and the first black filmmaker to receive an Oscar nomination for best director and best original screenplay for "Boyz n the Hood," starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Angela Bassett, Nia Long, Regina King and Laurence Fishburne.

"Boyz n the Hood," the 1991 crime-drama, centered on three friends growing up during the gang and drug culture in South Central Los Angeles, became one of Singleton's most notable films and remains a classic to this day.

Singleton's family said Monday he had hypertension, which is high blood pressure that puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs.

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Shelia Ward, Singleton's mother, filed court documents late last week seeking to be appointed as a temporary conservator to make medical decisions and to handle his business affairs.

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

Singleton directed a number of iconic films that examined the complexities of inner-city life and coming of age for African Americans, including "Poetic Justice" and "Baby Boy." He's also behind the movies "Abduction," "Shaft," "2 Fast 2 Furious," "Rosewood" and "Four Brothers."

Most recently, Singleton was the creator and executive producer of the FX drama "Snowfall," about the start of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles and "its ultimate radical impact on the culture as we know it," according to FX Networks. In September, the show was renewed for a third season.

His family called him "prolific" and said his work "changed the game and opened doors in Hollywood."

"His films and the incredible influence they had will be studied forever," ICM said. "John was a consummate professional in every way and an extraordinary friend. We were blessed to have had John in our lives. He is simply gone too soon."

Tributes to Singleton began pouring in on social media throughout the day as reports of the filmmaker's fading health began to surface.

"John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything," Oscar-winner Jordan Peel wrote prior to Singleton's death.

Angela Bassett, who portrayed Reva Styles in "Boyz n the Hood," said she would always remember the day she auditioned for Singleton.

"He exuded many things that day...awareness, openness and above all, enthusiasm! Over the years, he never lost or left any of that behind," Bassett said in a statement. "He provided and possessed a clarity of vision that I appreciate from that day till this. He gave a voice and an opportunity to many. Count me in that grateful number."

Fellow "Boyz n the Hood" alumni Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube also released statements on Singleton's death.

Gooding Jr. said he visited with Singleton on Sunday and whispered in Singleton's ear that he loved him.

Ice Cube thanked Singleton for "believing in me when I was unsure of myself" in his statement.

"Your passion for telling our stories from our point of view was more then an obsession, it was your mission in life," the rapper said. "Your love for the black experience was contagious and I would never be the man I am without knowing you."

Spike Lee, whose film "BlacKkKlansman" won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay this year, posted the "Boyz n the Hood" movie poster to his Instagram with the caption, "We'll Miss You But Your Films Will Live On."

In a touching Instagram post, actress Gabrielle Union shared her decades-long friendship with Singleton that began while her older sister attended the University of Southern California.

"The entire time I've been in Hollywood I knew I had big brothers who had my back & that knowledge gave me wings," Union wrote. "While they all accomplished so much, there was John breaking barrier after barrier making dreams into reality and never losing that loud and proud, by any means necessary mentality."

Actor Samuel L. Jackson said in a tweet Monday that he was mourning the loss of a collaborator and true friend.

"He blazed the trail for many young film makers, always remaining true to who he was & where he came from!!!" Jackson said of Singleton. "RIP Brother. Gone Way Too Soon!"

In a caption to a photo of the two of them together, director Ava DuVernay thanked Singleton for his work in paving the way for other black talent in Hollywood.

"There aren’t many of us out here doing this," DuVernay wrote. "It’s a small tribe in the grand scheme of things. He was a giant among us. Kind. Committed. And immensely talented. His films broke ground. His films mattered. He will be missed. And long remembered."