Acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée has died at age 58 on Christmas Day, Deadline has reported. The cause of death was not reported at first, but TVA Nouvelles has learned that the director died of a sudden cardiac arrest and was found dead by his friends at a residence in Berthier-Sur-Mer, Québec.
The filmmaker rose to stardom with the release of C.R.A.Z.Y., a 2005 coming-of-age drama starring Marc-André Grondin, Michel Côté, and Danielle Proulx, winning Best Picture at the 2006 Genie Awards and 2006 Iris Awards (known at the time as the Jutra Awards). The film is widely considered to be one of the greatest Canadian films ever made and was ranked by critics of the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 as the eighth greatest Canadian film of all time.
The success of C.R.A.Z.Y. made Vallée one of the first French-Canadian directors to successfully transition to Hollywood with the release of 2009’s The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, and Paul Bettany. He then became the first Québec filmmaker to have a film nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Picture with 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club, which led to Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto winning Oscars for Best Actor and Supporting Actor respectively.
Vallée also directed Wild, Demolition, and the HBO series Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects, which led him to more international acclaim. In a statement, HBO stated that “Jean-Marc Vallée was a brilliant, fiercely dedicated filmmaker, a truly phenomenal talent who infused every scene with a deeply visceral, emotional truth. He was also a hugely caring man who invested his whole self alongside every actor he directed. We are shocked at the news of his sudden death, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to his sons, Alex and Émile, his extended family, and his longtime producing partner, Nathan Ross.”
Tributes poured over social media, with Québec Premier François Legault calling the news “tragic” and Vallée an “exceptional artist”, while Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez thanked Vallée’s contribution to cinema around the world:
Cinémas Guzzo CEO Vincenzo Guzzo called the news “a loss for words”, and that “our industry is in mourning”, while Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante stated that the world lost “a great filmmaker”.
The story may be updated as more information comes along.