Chadwick Boseman died Friday at the age of 43, according to the Associated Press. The actor, who starred in Marvel’s Black Panther and Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods, was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016.
His publicist Nicki Fioravante informed AP that he died in his Los Angeles home alongside his wife and family. Boseman had never spoken publicly about his battle with cancer.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” reads a statement from his family. “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 a, Boseman talked about all the reasons he loved playing the character. “I love that he thinks about other people,” he said. “He’s not afraid to hear wise counsel. I think there is some fear of being wrong. I identify with that, with his plight, his personality. And I love him because the fantasy of playing a ruler — you never get to do that. You never get to explore what that is. It’s fun having power and having a say in what happens to the people around you.”
Born in 1976 in South Carolina, Boseman was initially known for his portrayal of real-life figures like James Brown in Get on Up, Jackie Robinson in 42 and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. He rose to superstardom when cast as Black Panther in numerous movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Avengers: Endgame; Captain America: Civil War; and Black Panther — a groundbreaking comic book movie that scored seven nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
But beyond the awards and the billion dollar box office gross, Black Panther and Chadwick Boseman helped usher in an era of better representation in comic book movies, and in Hollywood more broadly.
Most recently he starred in Da 5 Bloods, a drama directed by Spike Lee, playing Norman Earl Holloway, a freedom fighter in the Vietnam war.
Tributes online from fans and from his peers in Hollywood have begun pouring in. “A deeply gifted man is gone too soon,” Mark Hamill tweeted. “His memory will blaze on fiercely… from here to eternity.” Wrote actor Mike Colter, “You were a king on and off screen.”
“Your legacy will live on forever,” Marvel Studios tweeted. DC Comics also shared a tribute: “To a hero who transcends universes. Wakanda Forever.”
Boseman died on Jackie Robinson Day, which honors the professional baseball player he portrayed in the 2013 film 42. Survivors include his brothers Kevin and Derrick Boseman and his wife Taylor Simone Ledward.
First published on Aug. 28, 2020 at 7:21 p.m. PT.