Morgan Spurlock: the man behind Supersize Me, dies at 53

Virgin Radio

24 May 2024, 15:13

L to R: Morgan Spurlock

Credit: Getty

Morgan Spurlock, the documentary maverick who took on McDonald's in "Super Size Me," has passed away at age 53.

In a sad turn of events, the documentary world bids farewell to one of its most daring and imaginative creators. Morgan Spurlock, renowned for his groundbreaking 2004 documentary Super Size Me, has died at the age of 53.

Spurlock's family confirmed he passed away peacefully in New York on May 23, 2024, surrounded by loved ones, following a private battle and complications from cancer.



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Spurlock, born on November 7, 1970, was a man who truly put his money where his mouth was—literally.

He catapulted to fame by eating nothing but McDonald's for an entire month in Super Size Me, consuming an eye-watering 5,000 calories a day and always opting for the 'super-size' option when offered.

This daring experiment aimed to highlight the dangers of fast-food diets and the escalating obesity crisis in the United States.

Craig Spurlock, Morgan’s brother, poignantly remarked, "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." Indeed, the world has lost a visionary who wasn't afraid to dive headfirst into controversy to spark crucial conversations.

Super Size Me was not just a film—it was a phenomenon.

By the end of his 30-day McDonald’s diet, Spurlock had gained 25 pounds, experienced severe liver dysfunction, and battled depression.

His health sacrifices brought a stark reality to viewers worldwide, earning the documentary an Oscar nomination and raking in $22 million globally.

It also led McDonald's to scrap their 'super-size' option, a direct response to Spurlock's eye-opening experiment.

However the film's findings were called into question as Spurlock refused to share his meal logs.

But Spurlock's influence extended far beyond fast food.

His eclectic career began with the internet series I Bet You Will, where everyday people performed outrageous stunts for cash.

This series was eventually picked up by MTV, setting the stage for Spurlock's unconventional approach to filmmaking.

The filmmaker’s unique blend of humour, pathos, and zippy graphics made his work stand out.

He had a knack for the bizarre and ridiculous, much like his peer Michael Moore, with a personal, often humorous twist.

His style was gonzo journalism at its finest, making even the most mundane subjects compelling.

Spurlock didn’t stop at fast food.

He took on the chicken industry in Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, further exposing the murky waters of industrial food production.

His efforts played a part in the burgeoning popularity of fresh, artisanal, and ethically sourced ingredients, even though, as he noted in a 2019 interview with AP: “Nutritionally, not much has changed. The marketing sure has.”

Beyond food documentaries, Spurlock explored various facets of popular culture and society.

He directed the 2013 One Direction: This Is Us documentary, showing his versatility and broad appeal.

His production company, Warrior Poet, produced nearly 70 documentaries, cementing his legacy as a prolific and influential filmmaker.

However, Spurlock’s life was not without its struggles.

In 2017, he admitted to alcohol abuse, shedding light on personal battles that likely impacted his health and mental well-being.

Despite these challenges, his creative spirit remained undaunted.

Morgan Spurlock is survived by his two sons, his parents, and his former spouses.

His death marks the end of an era for documentary filmmaking, but his work will continue to inspire and provoke thought for years to come.