‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Documentary Filmmaker Commits Suicide

This photo taken on December 18, 2012 shows Swedish Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who died on May 13, 2014, in Stockholm. Bendjelloul's won an Oscar for his movie 2012 "Searching for Sugar Man". He was 36. –ANDERS WIKLUND/AFP/Getty Images

Malik Bendjelloul, the Swedish director who created the 2013 Academy Awards Best Documentary Feature “Searching for Sugar Man’’ took his own life in Stockholm last night. He was 36 years old.

According to the Associated Press, while Swedish police have ruled his death a suicide, they have not yet specified the cause of death or where it occurred. They do not suspect foul play.

Notably cash-strapped, Bendjelloul famously said that he ran out of money towards the end of making “Searching for Sugar Man’’ and shot the final segments with his iPhone.

He was also known for his enthusiastic nature and kind spirit, making his death a shock to many.


“Life is not always simple’’ said Malik’s brother Johar. “I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know.’’

Johar told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that the filmmaker had suffered from depression in the past.

The 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man’’ chronicled Sixto Rodriguez, an American musician who achieved immense fame in apartheid-era South Africa without even knowing it. That all changed when Bendjelloul and other Rodriguez fans found him employed as a construction worker in Detroit.

Following the film’s release, Rodriguez soared to international fame and began touring. The 71-year-old singer has declined to comment on Bendjelloul’s death.

“It seems so unbelievable,’’ said documentary producer Simon Chinn. “He had everything to live for.’’

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