‘Sugar Man’ Director Death Was Suicide, Family Says

Malik Bendjelloul
Jason Meritt / Getty Images

Director's brother speaks to Swedish press.

Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul, whose 2012 documentarySearching for Sugar Man” won the best documentary Oscar, committed suicide, his family says.

“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 (pictured right, with producer Simon Chinn) 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 2013 docu 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.

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  1. Beth Campbell says:

    Regardless of the cause of death, my sympathies go out to his family. 36 is too early to loose someone!

  2. Robert says:

    He jumped in front of a subway train.

  3. I doubt that Malik committed suicide. AND if the family,( etc.,?) has his body CREMATED instead of autopsied,( I would demand multiple autopsies to ensure an unbiased autopsy, as well) that should set off all kinds of red lights and be a warning sign! I hope Simon Chinn, the producer of “Searching for Sugar Man”, suggests to the family and/or starts and/or demands an investigation, autopsy, etc. I suspect foul play, because the message in his movie and in Sixto Rodriguez’s lyrics are so controversial that someone (and or some media, corpoation, the 1%, etc.,???) wanted to silence him, to prevent additional, similar documentaries from being made and I would also warn Simon Chenn to watch out because he, too could be treated similarly, namely he could be censored, even permanently silenced, say, from producing, making similar documentaries and it would likewise be called a “suicide”!

  4. Poor guy, the family has my sympathies.

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