Black Panther Actor Chadwick Boseman Dies at 43

Chadwick Boseman, the actor best known for portraying King T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther, has died at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer. Boseman died at his home in Los Angeles with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante revealed on Friday.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said in a statement posted on social media. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more—all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

In addition to his role as Black Panther, Boseman also played baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in the biopic Get On Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, as well as recently starring in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. His was final on-screen role was in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is currently in post-production.

When Black Panther won best cast in a film at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January of last year, Boseman delivered a powerful speech in which he invoked the title of playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s autobiography, To Be Young, Gifted and Black. “We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on,” he said. “We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. That is what we went to work with every day because we knew — not that we would be around during award season or that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing, that we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”

“We knew that we had something that we wanted to give,” he continued. “And to come to work with every day and to solve problems with this group of people every day, with this director, that is something that I wish all actors would get the opportunity to experience. If you get to experience that, you will be a fulfilled artist.”

Tributes have begun pouring in for the star, including from co-stars Mark Ruffalo, Sterling K. Brown, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Don Cheadle, and Brie Larson, as well as Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Kamala Harris, Jordan Peele, Barry Jenkins, and more. You can read a selection of them below.

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It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman.⁣ ⁣ Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. ⁣ ⁣ A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. ⁣ ⁣ It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. ⁣ ⁣ He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. ⁣ ⁣ The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. ⁣ ⁣ Photo Credit: @samjonespictures

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“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever! We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.” #WakandaForever

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