Michael Wolf Snyder, a production sound mixer on the Golden Globe-winning film Nomadland, has died. He was 35.
Snyder's death was confirmed by his father David in a Facebook message, which was shared by Snyder's aunt, Cathy Snyder. In the post, David, a psychiatrist, said that his son died by suicide and had been struggling with depression for years.
"Michael took his own life sometime in the last week and wasn't discovered until I went to check on him Monday after he had dropped out of contact for several days," he wrote. "He has suffered from Major Depression for many years. For most people, this is an illness that waxes and wanes over the years. I'm sure it was difficult for Michael that he spent most of the last year alone in his small, Queens apartment, being responsible about dealing with the coronavirus."
"In spite of this, we all believed he was doing well, and for most of this past year I think he was," David continued. "He seemed especially joyful and invigorated in these last few months since he was able to return to work on several different film projects."
David added that Snyder "was certainly thrilled" over the flurry of award nominations Nomadland has received. "Unfortunately, we believe he was gone before getting to see the Golden Globe awards," he said.
"We will never know what changed in the last month or two, but even his love for his family, as well as his love of film and his movie family, was not enough to conquer his demons," David continued. "People have asked if his death was Covid related. I think we can assume that it played a role in the form of increased isolation and loneliness, but it was certainly more than that."
"I hope that the shocking nature of Michael's death will alert others to speak up, risk being vulnerable, and seek the help that they need," David said.
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Nomadland star Frances McDormand paid tribute to Snyder in a statement to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. "Wolf recorded our heart beats. Our every breath. For me, he is Nomadland," McDormand said.
Director Chloé Zhao also honored Snyder, remembering their dynamics together on the sets of Nomadland and 2017's The Rider.
"I didn't wear headphones on set and so I heavily relied on Wolf to be my ears," Zhao said in a statement to Variety. I will always miss him. He would always be with me on set, after each take, and in the silence of every room tone. See you down the road, my friend."
Nomadland follows McDormand's Fern, who chooses to live a nomadic lifestyle while traveling through the American West after losing her husband and her life in a mining town that dissolves after the 2008 recession.
At the 2021 Golden Globe Awards last month, the film won best motion picture—drama while Zhao, 38, won for best director.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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