John Singleton's family has decided to take him off life support after he suffered a stroke

By Alexia Fernandez
April 29, 2019 03:04 PM
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Boyz n the Hood director John Singleton will be taken off of life support after suffering a stroke — and Hollywood has united to pay tribute to the Oscar nominee.

Regina King, who had a breakout role in 1991’s Boyz n the Hood, was one of the first celebrities to offer her sympathy after Singleton’s family made the “agonizing” decision on Monday.

“Rest In Power, my friend. One of the greatest to ever do it. Thank you GOD for blessing us with this gift better known as John Singleton,” she said on Instagram. “Having trouble finding enough words to share just what you mean to me. Will always love you John! Your spirit will forever shine bright.”

Jamie Foxx shared that he’s “hoping for a miracle” in his moving tribute to the director, saying Singleton “impacted the world” with his vision.

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Over the weekend when Singleton’s health status was unclear, Shonda Rhimes honored the director and his kindness her. “There was a time when I was struggling to pay my bills in film school and not sure this town was for me,” she shared on Instagram. “And one day, not long after Boyz N The Hood exploded on the scene, my phone rang. It was John Singleton,” Rhimes wrote. “John did not know me at all. But someone at USC had told him I was talented and he was kindly calling to offer me some words of encouragement. He told me to keep writing.”

She added, “I never forgot it. Praying for him and for his family now.”

Director and actor Robert Townsend tweeted, “My prayers go out today to John Singleton and his family. May God bless the young cinematic king who gave us images that will stay with us forever.”

Billions showrunner Brian Koppelman shared a memory of Singleton in a Twitter thread, writing, “1) When #JohnSingleton agreed to direct an episode of Billions in season two, David and I re-organized the whole writing schedule so we could write and tailor the episode to him. This is the only time we have done that for a director.”

“2) When John showed up, he was beyond prepared,” Koppelman wrote. “He had thought through every scene, understood every theme, asked pointed and perfect questions, and had boundless enthusiasm for the show and gig.”

He continued, “3)He treated it like a feature film, but within our constraints of budget and schedule. Working w him was a dream. He elevated every scene and moment.”

“4) we tried to get him to come back but he had his own show. Still, he emailed us after many episodes with his thoughts or comments. Like a part of the family,” he added. “5) this year, we had teamed up again and were about to write a pilot together. What an honor and joy to know John. He was a filmmaking hero to us. And a wonderful creative partner. #RIPJohnSingleton.”

Jordan Peele also commemorated Singleton with a “RIP” message, although Singleton’s passing has not yet been confirmed by his family.

“RIP John Singleton. So sad to hear. John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything,” Peele tweeted.

Singleton will be taken off life support 13 days after suffering a stroke at 51, his family announced in a statement obtained by PEOPLE Monday.

“It is with heavy hearts we announce that our beloved son, father and friend, John Daniel Singleton will be taken off of life support today. This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors,” the statement began.

John Singleton
Frederick M. Brown/FilmMagic

“In his private life, John is a loving and supporting father, son, brother, and friend who believed in higher education, black culture, old school music and the power of film,” the statement continued. “We are grateful to his fans, friends and colleagues for the outpour of love and prayers during this incredibly difficult time. We want to thank all the doctors at Cedars Sinai for the impeccable care he received.”

There had been conflicting information about Singleton’s health status since his stroke, with one side of his family claiming he is working towards recovery while his mother, Sheila Ward, filed a request to be named temporary conservator with claims that he is in a coma.

Singleton checked himself into a hospital last week after he began experiencing weakness in his legs after a trip to Costa Rica, according to TMZ. He later had the stroke while in the hospital.

The family’s statement said that Singleton had “quietly struggled with hypertension.”

“More than 40% of African American men and women have high blood pressure, which also develops earlier in life and is usually more severe,” the statement read. “His family wants to share the message with all to please recognize the symptoms by going to Heart.org.”

Singleton made his film debut with his 1991 film Boyz n the Hood starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne, Morris Chestnut and Angela Bassett. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, becoming the first African American and the youngest person to have earned a nomination in that category.

In 1993 he directed Poetic Justice and followed it up with Higher Learning, Baby Boy and Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson. He also directed 2 Fast 2 Furious and Four Brothers while serving as a producer on the 2005 film Hustle & Flow. Recently, he co-created the crime drama Snowfall.

Singleton will be survived by his mother, Shelia, and his seven children: daughters Justice, Hadar, Cleopatra, Selenesol, Issis, and his sons Maasai and Seven.