Morgan Spurlock, filmmaker behind 'Super Size Me' documentary, dies from cancer

"Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity," his brother said.

May 24, 2024, 11:43 AM

Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker behind the award-winning documentary "Super Size Me," died from cancer complications, his family announced on Friday.

"Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity," his brother, Craig Spurlock, said in a statement. "The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man."

Spurlock died Thursday, according to his family. He was 53 years old.

The Oscar-nominated documentarian and director from West Virginia famously ate fast food for 30 days to create his hit 2004 film, during which Spurlock claimed to only consume McDonald's menu items for all three meals, which highlighted the radical impact that diet had on his physical and psychological health.

The New York University alum later followed up with a 2017 sequel, "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!," which was Spurlock's final documentary.

PHOTO: Morgan Spurlock attends the "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!" premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 8, 2017, in Toronto, Canada.
Morgan Spurlock attends the "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!" premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 8, 2017, in Toronto, Canada.
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

In the sequel, Spurlock explored how the fast food industry attempted to rebrand under a healthier guise since his first go around. This time, he opened his own fast-food fried chicken restaurant in order to expose the marketing tactics fast food companies had been using on consumers in the 12 years since his original documentary.

"The goal of Holy Chicken is how do you at least start to level the playing field," he told Juju Chang in an interview for "Nightline" ahead of the film's release. "The way that I think we'll beat [competitors] is, can you create a truly farm-to-table localized fast food restaurant."

In the same interview, Spurlock opened up about an explosive statement he posted on social media related to the Me Too movement.

"Nobody came forward and said, 'I'm coming after you,'" he told ABC News about his own sexual misconduct history as detailed in the open letter. He later settled a sexual harassment claim at his production company, Warrior Poets, in which Spurlock recalled making "sexually offensive" comments that "verbally crossed the line."

"Once I said what I said, everything collapsed," he said after leaving the company as CEO.

Spurlock also admitted to struggling with alcoholism. While reflecting on his sobriety journey, Spurlock told ABC News he had to start with himself, adding, "I wished I'd done it 10 years ago."

The filmmaker also starred in and created the 2011 metacinema documentary “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” which was paid for entirely by sponsors as he dove head first into the world of product placement, marketing and advertising.

He is survived by two sons, Laken and Kallen; mom Phyllis Spurlock; dad Ben; brothers Craig and Barry; and ex-wives Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein, the mothers of his two children.

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