Malik Bendjelloul, ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Director, Dead at 36

Oscar-winning filmmaker found dead in Stockholm

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 9:56 AM

Malik Bendjelloul, who directed the Academy Award-winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” has been found dead, the Associated Press reports. He was 36.

According to Swedish police, the filmmaker (pictured, above left at TheWrap’s Oscar party in 2013) was found dead in Stockholm. Though a cause of death has not been determined, a police spokesperson said that no crime is suspected in the death.

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“Searching for Sugar Man,” about the life of obscure musician Sixto Rodriguez, took the Oscar for best documentary in 2013. The film followed Bendjelloul’s search for the mysterious musician, who was considered a legend in South Africa — though Rodriguez was unaware of his iconic status overseas.

Also read: Malik Bendjelloul Searched the World to Find ‘Sugar Man’ Tale

A natural storyteller, Bendjelloul quit his job in 2006 and traveled to Africa, where he searched for subjects that would lend themselves to good movies. During a visit to Cape Town, the filmmaker met Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, who relayed his own story about his search for Rodriguez.

Bendjelloul spent four years working on the documentary, which was initially planned as a seven-minute piece for Swedish TV. The project took on a life of its own before Sony Pictures Classics spent mid-six-figures to acquire the film out of Sundance in 2012.

In addition to winning an Oscar, Swedish-born Bendjelloul took home a number of other awards for the documentary including a BAFTA, a Director’s Guild of America award, a Producer’s Guild of America award and a Writer’s Guild of America award.

Prior to directing “Sugar Man,” Bendjelloul worked as an actor, appearing in the TV series “Ebba och Didrik” in 1990.