The Denver Post confirmed reports over the weekend that director George Hickenlooper has passed away at the age of 47. Although an investigation is ongoing, the death appears to be from natural causes and no foul play was suspected. The director was in Denver to premiere his latest movie, Casino Jack, at the Starz Denver Film Festival. George Hickenlooper was the cousin of Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, who had this to say about Hickenlooper's untimely passing:

"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 his family. His passion for life, zeal for people and unquenchable curiosity enriched everyone who had the fortune to know him. We will miss his sense of humor, his warm character and the avid encouragement he gave anyone around him. Our hearts go out to his wife, Suzanne, and his son, Charles."
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George Hickenlooper's first entry into the world of movies came with the 1991 documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, which took a look at the extensive problems on the set of the 1979 classic Apocalypse Now. His other movies include The Man from Elysian Fields, Mayor of the Sunset Strip and Factory Girl.

The Starz Denver Film Festival, which starts on Wednesday, will be dedicated to the memory of George Hickenlooper, said festival director Britta Erickson. His movie Casino Jack is slated to open on December 17. You can CLICK HERE to read the Denver Post's full obituary article.