Chadwick Boseman, who played the memorable role as “Black Panther” in the Marvel cinematic universe, died on Friday of cancer at age 43.
Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante told The Associated Press news agency.
Calling him “a true fighter,” Boseman’s family revealed the actor was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago. He never made his diagnosis public, even after photos of the gaunt-looking actor appeared on social media.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” read his family’s statement, which was posted on his Twitter and Instagram.
“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.”
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
Born the youngest of three boys in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013.
Boseman’s career first exploded with his portrayals of Black American icons Jackie Robinson in 2013’s “42”, James Brown in 2014’s “Get on Up” and NAACP lawyer and future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, in 2017’s “Marshall”.
His T’Challa character was first introduced to the blockbuster Marvel movies in 2016′s “Captain America: Civil War”, and his Wakanda Forever salute reverberated around the world after the release of Black Panther two years ago.
Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman’s family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/DyibBLoBxz
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) August 29, 2020
Black Panther, the first major studio superhero movie featuring a predominantly African American cast, went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year and was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture.
It won three Academy Awards – in the best original score, best costume design and best production design categories.
His most recent role was in Spike Lee’s Netflix war movie “Da 5 Bloods” released in June. Boseman had also completed a film version of August Wilson’s stage drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” opposite Viola Davis slated for later this year.