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Spike Lee leads tributes to filmmaker John Singleton

The 51-year-old filmmaker had his life support turned off on 29 April following a ‘major stroke’.

FILE: US filmmaker John Singleton. Picture: AFP

LONDON - A host of stars and directors have paid tribute to John Singleton following the filmmaker’s death at just 51.

Spike Lee, Halle Berry and Viola Davis are among the stars to have paid tribute to the late Singleton.

The 51-year-old filmmaker - who made history as the first African-American and youngest person to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar in 1992 for Boyz n the Hood - had his life support turned off on 29 April following a “major stroke” two weeks ago and a host of big names in Hollywood have reflected on his work and legacy.

BlacKkKlansman director Lee praised his friend for his “passion and heart”.

He wrote on Instagram: “We met while he was a film student at USC.

“Over many years people have told me ‘I’m going to be a filmmaker’.

“When john said that to me the 1st time we met, I believed him right away. It was no surprise.

“With his passion, his heart, the way he talked about his love for cinema and black folks I could see John would make it happen, and he did.

“From day one, we have remained close over the decades, cheering each other on in this industry that is not set up for us to win.

“John Singleton’s films will live on forever.

“Blessings and prayers for his family. May John rest in power. Amen.”

Berry praised the director as an “innovator” who would always be a “beacon of light”.

She tweeted: “#JohnSingleton was an innovator - he came with drive & a creative vision when people of colour didn’t have the same visibility we do now. He will remain a beacon of light in our community, and today we celebrate his legacy. Rest well my friend, we’ve lost one of the good guys. (sic)”

And Davis said the Higher Learning filmmaker had “inspired a generation”.

She tweeted: “The best life is when we leave a trail. We leave something on this earth bigger than us. John Singleton....you inspired a generation of Artists. We will shoulder on...’ May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”. RIP (sic)”

Samuel L. Jackson, who worked with John on 2000’s Shaft remembered his “true friend”.

He tweeted: “Mourning the loss of a collaborator & True Friend John Singleton. He blazed the trail for many young filmmakers, always remaining true to who he was & where he came from!!! RIP Brother. Gone Way Too Soon! (sic)”

Quincy Jones also paid tribute to the Baby Boy director’s enduring legacy.

He tweeted: “RIP to my dear brother, John Singleton. Gone far, far too soon...your storytelling & contributions to our culture will endure forever. (sic)”

Tyler Perry has been left “heartbroken and shocked” by the director’s death.

He wrote: “I cannot believe this man is gone at such a young age. He was always encouraging, supportive, and gracious to me. I will be calling him and his family’s name in my prayers tonight. Heartbroken and shocked. May God add peace and rest to your ascending soul Mr John Singleton. (sic)”

Fellow directors Edgar Wright and Ron Howard also paid tribute to their peer.

Wright tweeted: “This is way too sad. The word ‘groundbreaker’ is thrown around too easily, but it applied to John Singleton, an inspirational, influential filmmaker. While he had many accomplishments in TV and film, you felt he had still more surprises up his sleeve. 51 is far too young to go. (sic)”

Howard wrote: “Sad sad news. Such a good director and so well regarded everywhere he went. We will miss his work and his storytelling voice. RIP #JohnSingleton (sic)”

Hours after Singleton’s family confirmed on Monday they would be taking him off life support, they confirmed he had passed away.

They said in a statement: “John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends.

“We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai [Medical Center] for their expert care and kindness, and we again want to thank all of Singleton’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time.”

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