Malik Bendjelloul's Death Was a Suicide, Filmmaker's Brother Says

Image: Malik Bendjelloul's Death Was a Suicide, Filmmaker's Brother Says

Thursday, 15 May 2014 08:19 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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Malik Bendjelloul, director of the Oscar-winning documentary "Searching for Sugar Man," died of an apparent suicide, the filmmaker's brother confirmed Wednesday.

"Life is not always simple," Johar Bendjelloul told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, The Associated Press reported. He confessed that his brother's death was the worst thing he had ever experienced.

"I don't know how to handle it. I don't know," he said.

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Malik Bendjelloul rose to prominence in 2013 after winning an Oscar for Best Documentary for his debut film, "Searching for Sugar Man" — which he finished filming on his smartphone after running out of cash.

The documentary tells the story of a Detroit man, Sixto Rodriguez, whose musical career flopped in the United States but became legendary in anti-apartheid South Africa in the 1970s without him knowing it.

Rodriguez experienced a career rebirth after the film found success, and he called Bendjelloul's death "a shock."

"He was a very talented man and hard-working artist — he proved it by hitting an Academy Award his first time out. My deepest condolences to his family. Rest in peace," he said.

Many in the film industry also expressed their sympathies and grief over Bendjelloul's death this week.

Actor and Cannes jury member Gael Garcia Bernal said he met the director "briefly at the Oscars last year" and said "I am very sad that it happens like that," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Others, including documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, took to Twitter in remembrance.

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