Published May 14, 2014Malik Bendjelloul, the Academy Award-winning director of Searching for Sugar Man, was found dead in his Stockholm apartment yesterday (May 13). He was 36 years old.
Authorities confirmed the documentarian's death but did not give an exact cause. Bendjelloul's brother Johar, however, told the Associated Press [via CBC] his sibling had committed suicide, telling another news service, that his brother had been suffering from depression.
"Life is not always simple," Johar Bendjelloul told Swedish daily Aftonbladet. "I don't know how to handle it. I don't know."
Searching for Sugar Man, which focused on the life, times and rediscovery of forgotten folk rock singer Sixto Rodriguez, was once cash-strapped Bendjelloul's feature-length debut and edited in his own apartment.
The beginnings of the film draw back to a trip to South Africa Bendjelloul took in 2006, which put him in touch with Cape Town record store owner Stephen Segerman, who had started his "The Great Rodriguez Hunt" website in 1997 in attempts to track town the then-mysterious Detroit musician. Bendjelloul was able to locate Rodriguez for the film, interviewing him in his home and chronicling the once forgotten folk figure's life of manual labour following his recording career.
The film garnered praise worldwide, winning the 2013 Academy Award for best documentary.
Other credits to Bendjelloul included an acting role on Swedish program Ebba och Didrik back in his youth, while he also made short documentary pieces for Swedish television that featured interviews with the likes of Björk and Elton John.