Oscar-Winning Director Dead at 36

Swede Malik Bendjelloul won for 'Searching for Sugar Man' documentary

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 13, 2014 6:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – Malik Bendjelloul, the acclaimed Swedish director behind the Oscar-winning music documentary Searching for Sugar Man, has died at age 36. Police say Bendjelloul died in Stockholm today, but wouldn't specify the cause of death. Foul play is not suspected. Searching for Sugar Man, which detailed the life and career of American singer Sixto Rodriguez, won the Oscar for best documentary in 2013. It also took top honors from a host of other film groups, notes Deadline.com.

Bendjelloul grew up in central and southern Sweden and acted in Swedish television as a kid. He studied journalism at the Linnaeus University and later worked as a reporter for Swedish public broadcaster SVT. He resigned from that job to travel the world and got the idea for Searching for Sugar Man during one of his trips. Rodriguez's music from the early 1970s made him a huge star in South Africa, but he was virtually unknown in the US. The film chronicles Bendjelloul's efforts to track him down.

A 2012 photo of documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul.
A 2012 photo of documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul.   (AP Photo/TT, Anders Wiklund, File)
This Feb. 24, 2013, photo shows director Malik Bendjelloul accepting the award for best documentary feature for Searching for Sugar Man during the Oscars.
This Feb. 24, 2013, photo shows director Malik Bendjelloul accepting the award for best documentary feature for "Searching for Sugar Man" during the Oscars.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
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The trailer for 'Searching for Sugar Man.'   (YouTube)

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