Canadian director and producer Jean-Marc Vallée died of natural causes: family

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MONTREAL - The family of acclaimed Canadian director and producer Jean-Marc Vallée said Wednesday that his sudden death on Christmas Day was from natural causes.

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MONTREAL – The family of acclaimed Canadian director and producer Jean-Marc Vallée said Wednesday that his sudden death on Christmas Day was from natural causes.

In a statement, they said a Quebec coroner concluded Vallée died of a “fatal cardiac arrhythmia secondary to severe coronary atherosclerosis.”

It was released not long before a coroner issued his report into Vallée’s death at his cabin just outside Quebec City over the 2021 Christmas holiday weekend. He was 58.

Jean Marc Vallee arrives for the screening of the film "The Rest of Us" at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Sept. 6, 2019. The family of the acclaimed late Canadian director and producer says his sudden death on Christmas Day was from natural causes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Vallée directed a string of high-profile films and series after his breakout “C.R.A.Z.Y.”, winning an Emmy for directing the hit HBO series “Big Little Lies,” and his 2013 drama “Dallas Buyers Club” earned multiple Oscar nominations.

The coroner concluded that Vallée died not long after arriving at his cabin. Aside from lower back pain, he had no chronic health condition that would be a risk for cardiovascular disease.

According to his report, coroner Donald Nicole wrote that Vallée had invited a friend to dine with him at his secondary residence in Berthier-sur-Mer, southeast of Quebec City, on Boxing Day.

The friend tried to contact him around noon on Dec. 26 without success. Worried, he went to the cabin and found Vallée around 2:30 p.m., sprawled on his dining room floor, his cellphone near his hand.

Vallée had told the friend during a conversation on Christmas Eve that he would be arriving at the cabin on Dec. 25. The coroner noted Vallée had missed calls and messages starting around 9:42 p.m. on Dec. 25, and his travel bag, groceries and other personal effects were found in his car.

Born in Montreal, Vallée studied filmmaking at Collège Ahuntsic and the Université du Québec à Montréal.

In the statement released late Wednesday, Vallée’s sons, Alex and Émile Vallée, say people are still getting in touch about their filmmaker father’s influence.

“Testimonials of friendship, esteem and respect for our father and for his work are still coming from around the world,” they said.

“We are sincerely grateful, and we hope that his creativity will continue to serve as inspiration and guidance to the people in this industry that he was so passionate about.”

The statement says the sons and their mother will soon announce details of a commemorative event to honour Vallée’s life and craft.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2022.

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