Morgan Spurlock dead: Super Size Me director dies at 53

Ian Youngs,Entertainment & arts reporter

Getty Images Morgan SpurlockGetty Images

Oscar-nominated documentary maker Morgan Spurlock, best known for his 2004 fast food film Super Size Me, has died at the age of 53.

Super Size Me saw Spurlock live on a diet of McDonald’s food for an entire month to test the health impact on his body.

It sparked a huge debate and earned him an Oscar nomination for best documentary.

He directed more than 20 films and documentaries in total, including 2008’s Where in the World is Osama bin Laden, and the 2013 One Direction tour movie This Is Us.

He died of complications from cancer, his family said in a statement via his publicist and reported by AFP news agency.

In the statement, his brother and collaborator Craig said: “It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan.

“Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity. The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man.”

grey placeholderGetty Images Morgan Spurlock, director of "Super Size Me" during 2004 Sundance Film FestivalGetty Images

Spurlock promoted his film outside a McDonald’s branch during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival

As well as directing Super Size Me, Spurlock was the film’s star and guinea pig as he ate dozens of Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets and drank gallons of cola.

He put on 25lb (11kg) and was told by doctors his health was at risk if he did not end his 30-day experiment.

Spurlock was seen describing himself feeling ill and low in energy, while medical concerns were raised about his blood pressure and cholesterol.

grey placeholderAlamy Morgan Spurlock, Super Size Me film, 2004Alamy

Spurlock put on 25lb (11kg) while making Super Size Me

The film also asked searching questions of the US food industry and suggested a healthier alternative could be available with political will.

Its release prompted McDonald’s to release a statement defending its menus and denouncing Spurlock’s movie as “unrealistic”.

The company took out adverts in five British newspapers saying its food should be eaten as “part of a balanced diet”.

But McDonald’s scrapped its Super Size option that year.

grey placeholderGetty Images Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Morgan Spurlock, Liam Payne and Harry Styles attend the World Premiere of 'One Direction: This Is Us 3D' at Empire Leicester Square on August 20, 2013 in LondonGetty Images

Spurlock with One Direction at the premiere of their documentary in 2013

After that film, Spurlock tackled subjects including the US war in Afghanistan with Where in the World is Osama bin Laden; consumer marketing in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold; and elder care and gambling in CNN series Morgan Spurlock’s Inside Man.

He was nominated for an Emmy award in 2010 for The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special: In 3-D! On Ice!

In 2017, as allegations of sexual misconduct swept Hollywood, he penned a confessional essay referring to himself as “part of the problem”.

He said had been accused of rape and had paid to settle a claim of sexual harassment.

He also admitted cheating on “every wife and girlfriend I have ever had”.

He then stepped down from the production company he had co-founded in 2004.

In 2019, he returned to screens with a sequel to Super Size Me, opening his own chain in order to find out how the fast food industry had changed.

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