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'Boyz n the Hood' director John Singleton dead at 51

The groundbreaking director suffered a stroke on April 17.
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/ Source: TODAY

"Boyz n the Hood" director John Singleton has died after suffering a stroke earlier this month, his family said Monday. He was 51.

"We are sad to relay that John Singleton has died. John passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends," read a statement from the family released by his rep. "We want to thank the amazing doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital for their expert care and kindness and we again want to thank all of John’s fans, friends and colleagues for all of the love and support they showed him during this difficult time."

John Singleton
John Singleton and frequent collaborator Regina King in 2013.WireImage

Earlier in the day, the family said in a separate statement that Singleton would be taken off of life support.

"This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors," the family said.

Singleton had been in intensive care since he suffered a stroke on April 17.

The pioneering director, a native of South Central Los Angeles, was nominated for a best director Academy Award for his 1991 debut film, the inner-city drama "Boyz n the Hood." In his 20s at the time, he was the first African-American and the youngest person ever nominated for the award.

John Singleton
Singleton in an undated photo with Janet Jackson, who starred in his 1993 film "Poetic Justice."Alamy Stock Photo

He went on to direct "Poetic Justice," starring Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson, "2 Fast 2 Furious" and the 2000 "Shaft" film, as well as television shows including the FX crime drama “Snowfall,” about the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles.

After Singleton's family revealed they'd end his life support on Monday, the director's Hollywood colleagues took to social media to pay their respects.

Oscar winner Regina King, who appeared in Singleton films including "Boyz n the Hood" and "Poetic Justice," called the director "one of the greatest to ever do it."

"Having trouble finding enough words to share just what you mean to me. Will always love you John! Your spirit will forever shine bright," she wrote.

Oscar-winning "Get Out" and "Us" director Jordan Peele tweeted, "John was a brave artist and a true inspiration. His vision changed everything."

TODAY's own Willie Geist called the news "terribly sad."

"I wore out my copy of 'Boyz N The Hood' and could recite every word of it from start to finish."

In the days following Singleton's stroke, more Hollywood luminaries paid tribute to the ailing director.

"Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes recalled that before she found fame, Singleton once phoned her to offer his "words of encouragement."

“He told me to keep writing. I never forgot it,” Rhimes wrote. “Praying for him and for his family now.”

Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay said Singleton's career helped to inspire her own.

"His films helped form me. His kindness lifted me up," she wrote.