The film director Malik Bendjelloul has died aged 36. According to Swedish police, the director passed away in Stockholm late Tuesday night, with suicide as the reported cause of death. Bendjelloul's brother Johar Bendjelloul told Swedish daily Aftonbladet that his 36-year-old younger brother committed suicide on Tuesday after struggling with depression.
Bendjelloul directed the Oscar-winning cult classic Searching for Sugar Man, a film that documents the journey of two South African journalists seeking to discover what had become of the mythical musician Sixto Rodriguez.
Bendjelloul started life as an actor before becoming a TV reporter, eventually quitting the job to travel the world. It was on his journey across the globe that he got the idea to investigate the whereabouts of Rodriguez, an American musician who was a popular icon in South Africa but remained completely oblivious to his stardom.
"We are so sad to hear of Malik Bendjelloul's passing," Sony Pictures Classics, the distributor of Searching For Sugar Man, have said in a statement. "Much like Rodriguez himself Malik was a genuine person who chased the world for stories to tell. He didn't chase fame, fortune or awards, although those accolades still found him as many others recognised his storytelling."
Sixto Rodriguez made several records during the 70s that had completely flopped commercially in America. Rodriguez took a job as a construction worker in Detroit, all the while oblivious to the following he was building up in South Africa during the apartheid era, with liberal Afrikaaners inspired by the social commentary that ran throughout his work - marginalised races, women's rights and political issues are all facets of his lyrical discourse.
Read our 2012 interview with Malik Bendjelloul here and listen to Sixto Rodriguez below, the man to whom Bendjelloul gave another life.
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