The Swedish director turned Oscar winner, Malik Bendjelloul, was found dead on Tuesday in Stockholm. When we first reported on his shocking death, it was not yet known the cause, except that officials noted that no foul play was suspected as the result of Bendjelloul’s death.
Now police have confirmed that the director behind the film Searching for Sugar Man committed suicide. Bendjelloul’s brother confirmed the cause of his death to the associated press and gave no further details in regards to the director’s death.
“I can confirm that it was suicide and that he had been depressed for a short period of time. Life is not always so easy… I don’t know how to handle it.”
The late filmmaker’s award winning documentary follows Sixto Rodriguez, a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Detroit, who was a blues musician who recorded two albums before vanishing from the scene as he failed to garner profitable record sales. Decades following his disappearance from the music scene left the artist providing for his three daughters by taking jobs in manual labor. During this time he wasn’t aware that his music had found a place in South Africa and were songs that were associated with freedom within an oppressive life. The film tells Rodriguez’s story in a detective-like narrative.
US singer Rodriguez, who was the subject of Searching For Sugar Man spoke out about Malik Bendjelloul’s death. Rodriguez told a Swedish newspaper that the director was “both unique and very friendly.”
Simon Chinn, the film’s producer spoke about Bendjelloul’s demeanor before his suicide:
“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.”
Aside from his short career as a director, Malik appeared in the Swedish television series Ebba and Didrik, and studied journalism at the University of Kalmar. From there he made a short documentary by interviewing popular artists like Elton John and Bjork.
Back in 2012 Malik Bendjelloul told the Timesof the film:
“This was the greatest, the most amazing, true story I’d ever heard, an almost archetypal fairy tale. It’s a perfect story. It has the human element, the music aspect, a resurrection and a detective story.”
Malik Bendjelloul was 36-years-old at the time of his death.