, the director of acclaimed independent films like Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister and episodes of New Girl, G.L.O.W. and Little Fires Everywhere, died Friday at the age of 54.
The cause of death was a blood disorder, Variety reported. Marc Maron, Shelton’s partner at the time of her death, confirmed her death in a statement.
“I have some awful news. Lynn passed away last night. She collapsed yesterday morning after having been ill for a week,” Maron said in a statement ( IndieWire). “There was a previously unknown, underlying condition. It was not COVID-19. The doctors could not save her. They tried. Hard.”
Maron continued, “I loved her very much as I know many of you did as well. It’s devastating. I am leveled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don’t really know how to move forward in this moment. I needed you all to know. I don’t know some of you. Some I do. I’m just trying to let the people who were important to her know.”
Shelton emerged out of the mumblecore scene in 2009 with her third film Humpday, which was awarded Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Independence at that year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Humpday star and Shelton collaborator Mark Duplass tweeted Saturday, “We lost our dear friend Lynn Shelton. We made so many things together. I wish we had made more. Her boundless creative energy and infectious spirit were unrivaled. She made me better. We butted heads, made up, laughed, pushed each other. Like family. What a deep loss.”
Eschewing offers from Hollywood to make big-budget films, Shelton instead balanced her own indie films (2011’s Your Sister’s Sister, 2013’s Touchy Feely, 2014’s Laggies, 2017’s Outside In) with steady TV work, helming episodes of Mad Men, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Master of None, Fresh Off the Boat, G.L.O.W. and many more. Most recently, Shelton directed four episodes of the Hulu drama Little Fires Everywhere.
Shelton and Maron also collaborated on a handful of projects: Episodes of Maron and G.L.O.W., a pair of his stand-up specials (2017’s Too Real and 2020’s End Times Fun) as well as her 2019 film Sword of Trust.
“She was a beautiful, kind, loving, charismatic artist. Her spirit was pure joy. She made me happy. I made her happy. We were happy. I made her laugh all the time. We laughed a lot. We were starting a life together. I really can’t believe what is happening,” Maron said in his statement. “This is a horrendous, sad loss.”
We lost our dear friend Lynn Shelton. We made so many things together. I wish we had made more. Her boundless creative energy and infectious spirit were unrivaled. She made me better. We butted heads, made up, laughed, pushed each other. Like family. What a deep loss. pic.twitter.com/LcowmbGqum
— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) May 16, 2020
Lynn Shelton changed my life when she handed me the Directing Award at Sundance in 2012. She announced my name with pride. Handed it to me with love. Rooted for me long after. I can’t believe I’m typing this. Rest In Peace, Beauty. Thank you for your films. And for your kindness. pic.twitter.com/KySqgIdqQd
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 16, 2020
I am truly shocked at the passing of Lynn Shelton. She was a friend, a kind heart, so talented & only just getting started, despite her stellar work so far. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones. She's left us too soon. I can't believe I'll never hear her laugh again.
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) May 16, 2020
Don’t know how to comprehend the sudden loss of my brilliant friend Lynn Shelton. Her direction was filled with delight. Her films tap-danced through the human experience. Cherishing her movies and mourning the ones we never got to see.
— Jason Reitman (@JasonReitman) May 16, 2020