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Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dies at age 53

The man who famously took on McDonald's died of complications from cancer

Bryony Gooch
US Writer
Updated: May 24, 2024
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Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker responsible for the award-winning documentary series Super Size Me, has died from cancer complications aged 53 years old.

His family announced his passing on May 24 in a statement that confirmed he "passed away peacefully in New York surrounded by family and friends" on Thursday.

His brother Craig Spurlock shared: "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. I am so proud to have worked together with him."

Morgan Spurlock, director of "Super Size Me" during 2004 Sundance Film Festival - "Supersize Me" people portraits in Park City, Utah, United States. (Photo by Randall Michelson/WireImage)© Randall Michelson Archive
Morgan Spurlock at Sundance

Spurlock was responsible for the Academy Award-nominated documentary Super Size Me, a bold look into obesity in America in the 2000s. The film followed a 30-day period during which the filmmaker claimed to only eat McDonald's food, documenting the drastic change in his health and wellbeing.

The experiment followed specific rules: he must eat three meals from McDonald's each day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. He must consume every item on the menu at least once over the course of 30 days, which he managed in nine days. He must only ingest items offered on the menu, including bottled water. If offered, he must Super Size the meal. He would attempt to walk as much as the typical citizen at the time, a suggested 5,000 steps per day.

Morgan Spurlock during 2005 Oscar's Award Lounge Hosted by Extra at The Century Plaza Hotel - Extra Suite in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by J. Merritt/FilmMagic)© J. Merritt
Morgan Spurlock in 2005

The documentary had a major impact and six weeks after its debut, McDonald's discontinued its supersize portions. His idea went on to inspire other series, such as the BBC television series The Supersizers, where the presenters dined on historical meals and took medical tests to see how it impacted their health.

Following up the impressive feat, Spurlock continued to make documentaries, such as Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, about product placement. 

In 2017, Morgan wrote a blog post admitting to a history of sexual misconduct, saying that he was "part of the problem" as he recounted being accused of sexual assault in college. Following the post, he stepped down from his position at his company Warrior Poets, which he founded in 2004. His career as a documentary filmmaker ended there and then.

Growing up in West Virginia, the filmmaker was "enraptured" by the entertainment business early on. "I never wanted to do anything else", he told The Guardian. "I was awkward as a kid. I wasn't the best looking or the most athletic or the funniest – I was just persistent and tenacious."

He is survived by two sons, Laken James Spurlock and Kallen Marcus Spurlock.

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