The film and television world has been rocked by a shocking death: Lynn Shelton, the acclaimed indie director who worked on some of the most popular TV series of the last few years has died. Indiewire reports that she had a “previously unidentified blood disorder.” Shelton was only 54 years old.

They also acquired a statement from Shelton’s creative and romantic partner, Marc Maron, which reads:

I have some awful news. Lynn passed away last night. She collapsed yesterday morning after having been ill for a week. There was a previously unknown, underlying condition. It was not COVID-19. The doctors could not save her. They tried. Hard.

Shelton and Maron had been making appearances in public together as recently as February; the photo above is from the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards. So this is truly sudden, terrible news.

Shelton was raised in Seattle and started working as an editor before transitioning into writing and directing. She made her first feature, We Go Way Back, in 2006. Her third movie was her breakthrough: Humpday starring Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard as two old friends who reconnect and, on a dare, decide to make a porn film together. Humpday won an award at the Sundance Film Festival and was widely acclaimed by critics.

Shelton made five more films, including last year’s Sword of Trust, which starred Maron, all in the same personal style of Humpday — and not because she didn’t have opportunities to move into the mainstream. Last year, she revealed that she’d been approached about directing Marvel’s Black Widow movie. She decided against it, explaining to Variety that she “really wanted to save [her] body of work in cinema. “To have total creative control and to really be able to make exactly what I wanted to make,” she explained, “which is what making movies at the level that we’ve been making movies at allows you to do. Which is amazing.”

Instead, Shelton turned to directing television to fund her films projects. She directed an episode of Mad Men in 2010 and spent the following decade directing TV comedy in between films. She worked on New GirlMaster of NoneThe Good PlaceFresh off the Boat, and GLOW among others.

Most recently, she directed Marc Maron’s new Netflix special, End Times Fun, and four of the eight episodes of Little Fires Everywhere, which only premiered on Hulu two months ago. The fact that she’s gone now, in the midst of her creative prime, is absolutely tragic. Maron put it best in his statement: “She was a beautiful, kind, loving, charismatic artist. Her spirit was pure joy.”

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