Super Size Me documentarian Morgan Spurlock was ‘influential filmmaker’

US filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has been remembered for having “changed the world with his art”, following his death at the age of 53.

Spurlock rose to global fame thanks to his Oscar-nominated 2004 documentary titled Super Size Me, which saw him eat McDonald’s for a month to illustrate the dangers of a fast food diet.

He died on Thursday in New York “peacefully surrounded by family and friends” from complications of cancer, his family said in a statement given to the PA news agency.

Obit Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock poses at the Los Angeles premiere of his film Super Size Me in 2004 (Mark J Terrill/AP)

“It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan,” Craig Spurlock said in the statement.

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

“I am so proud to have worked together with him.”

During his career, Spurlock’s work addressed controversial subject matters including the US war in Afghanistan – titled Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden – which saw him search for the Al-Qaeda leader who was killed in 2011.

He also tackled questions of product placement and consumer marketing in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and elder care and gambling in series Morgan Spurlock Inside Man.

Spurlock is also known for directing One Direction documentary film This Is Us in 2013.

US filmmaker Brett Morgen said his “heart breaks” for the family and friends of Spurlock.

“Morgan Spurlock achieved what most artists only dream: he actually changed the world with his art,” he said on X.

“He was an amazing father, brother, friend and one of the most important and influential filmmakers of my time.”

Spurlock was nominated for an Emmy in 2010 for his work as executive producer on The Simpsons: 20th Anniversary Special 0 In 3-D! On Ice!.

US producer Al Jean, known for his work on The Simpsons, described Spurlock’s death as a “great loss”.

“V v v sad to learn of the passing of Morgan Spurlock,” he said on X.

“A very talented, funny and brilliant man and a true friend to @TheSimpsons.”

While Scottish star Dawn O’Porter said Morgan was a “massive inspiration to me when I started working in TV”.

Sharing a post on Instagram, she said: “His show ‘Super Size Me’ was obviously the inspiration for my first TV show ‘Super Slim Me’.

“And then one day he wrote to me and told me he loved my work. You can imagine my reaction.

“We made a pilot together and it was brilliant and I loved him so much in real life.

“I feel really lucky that I got up close to Morgan, to watch him work and hear his brain. I had nothing but loads of love for him and feel sad today.”

Spurlock made a splash in 2004 with his groundbreaking Super Size Me documentary, and returned in 2019 with Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! about how the fast food had rebranded itself following his first documentary.

It had been scheduled to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, but was pulled at the height of the #MeToo movement.

It came after Spurlock acknowledged he was “part of the problem” confessing he had been accused of rape while in college during an encounter he thought was consensual, and had also settled a sexual harassment allegation with a female assistant.

Spurlock leaves behind his two sons Laken and Kallen, his mother Phyllis, his father Ben, brothers Craig and Barry and former spouses Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein – the mothers of his children.