Morgan Spurlock Is Dead Just Days After Super Size Me Anniversary

Morgan Spurlock at event
Morgan Spurlock at event - Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Variety reports that documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has died at age 53. Spurlock was best known for his film "Super Size Me," released on May 7, 2004, which chronicled his endeavor to consume nothing but McDonald's food for one month, and the resulting effects on his health and lifestyle. The documentarian's death was confirmed by his brother and filmmaking partner Craig Spurlock, who stated, "Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas and generosity. Today the world has lost a true creative genius and a special man." Spurlock reportedly died from complications related to cancer, though the details of his illness have not been released at the time of publication.

As Spurlock's defining film, "Super Size Me" was met with praise at the time of its release, even receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Feature Documentary. However, the film was also subject to much criticism and many counter-arguments, including claims that a man who recreated Spurlock's experiment actually lost weight. In addition to "Super Size Me," Spurlock also directed and contributed to many other films, such as "Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?" as well as "Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man," a docuseries appearing on CNN.

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Morgan Spurlock's Controversial Legacy

super sized McDonald's fries
super sized McDonald's fries - Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"Super Size Me" was an undeniable hit for Morgan Spurlock, earning over $22 million globally since its 2004 theatrical release. The film also ranks as one of the most notorious moments in fast-food history. To make the film, Spurlock ate only meals from McDonald's for a period of 30 days, and "Super Sized" his meals whenever the staff asked if he would like to. The filmmaker reported negative physical and mental effects related to his diet, such as a weight gain of 25 pounds, depression, and liver ailments.

Despite its success, the documentary and its writer/director have come under fire for the practices used to produce the film.  For instance, Spurlock kept a diary of the food he ate during his experiment, but never released this information publicly. The documentarian was also criticized for not making his problems with alcohol abuse known, which some posit could have contributed to the health effects he experienced.

More recently, Business Insider reported on Spurlock's admission of serious instances of sexual misconduct, including accusations of rape and the settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit. This revelation impacted his future filmmaking ventures. Although Spurlock's reputation remains controversial, the filmmaker is still lauded for initiating conversations about fast food culture and nutrition in America.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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