Director George Hickenlooper Dies

UPDATED 12:11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010

Filmmaker George Hickenlooper was found dead Saturday in Denver. The Mayor of Sunset Strip and Factory Girl director was in Colorado to promote his latest film, Casino Jack, at the Starz Denver Film Festival. He was 47.

The Denver Post reports that Hickenlooper appears "to have died of natural causes" and that no foul play is suspected.

Hickenlooper's cousin, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, said in a statement Saturday, "Shock and sadness do not begin to describe our emotions. We are devastated. George had immense creative talents and cinematic gifts, but he was so much more than that to us and all of his family."

Kevin Spacey, who stars as lobbyist Jack Abramoff in Casino Jack, said in a statement:  "It is with great sadness that I have to even think about writing about George in this way, when I was looking forward to seeing him next week in Los Angeles. I can’t believe he's gone because George was so alive, bubbling with energy, drive, commitment, an open heart and a brilliant sense of humor. He was one of a kind."

"Tonight," he added, "I raise a glass in his honor. Rest in peace, my friend."

Hickenlooper is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and a son, Charles.

"George was a loving father and provider," Suzanne Hickenlooper said in a statement. "He had a great creative talent, a generous spirit and loved life and people more than anyone I know. Charles and I will miss him very much."

Hickenlooper's credits include the making-of Apocalypse Now documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, the Andy Garcia/Mick Jagger male escort picture, The Man From Elysian Fields, and the short film Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade, which was later expanded into a feature film by Billy Bob Thornton.

The Starz Film Festival will be "dedicated in its entirety" to Hickenlooper, according to festival director festival director Britta Erickson.

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