American actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing the Marvel superhero Black Panther, has died of colon cancer at age 43.
Chadwick Boseman, who never publicly discussed his colon cancer diagnosis, passed away at home in Los Angeles, California. According to a social media post, his wife and family were by his side when he died.
His death was announced via his official Twitter account.
The tweet read: “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.”
The statement continued: “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,” it added.
The post also said: “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.”
Chadwick’s rise to stardom
While Chadwick has played numerous roles both on television series and films, he rose to prominence by playing real-life figures, particularly baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42 and as soul singer James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up.
However, he will be best remembered as King T’Challa of the fictional African nation of Wakanda and his alter ego and titular character Black Panther. In the Marvel universe, Wakanda holds the most advanced technology on the planet.
Black Panther was critically acclaimed and garnered over $1.3 billion US dollars at cinemas globally. It was also perceived as a cultural milestone for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.
The film was the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards.
In 2019, Chadwick said the film had changed what it means to be “young, gifted and black”. He also played the character in other Marvel films, namely Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
A sequel to Black Panther was scheduled for 2022 with him returning as the main actor.
Untimely death and tributes
Chadwick’s death surprised many people as he never publicly discussed his diagnosis. However, fans this year have been expressing concern over his health due to his noticeable weight loss.
Fellow Marvel star Mark Ruffalo, who plays The Hulk, said: “All I have to say is the tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound by the loss of #ChadwickBoseman. What a man, and what an immense talent. Brother, you were one of the all time greats and your greatness was only beginning. Lord love ya. Rest in power, King.”
Meanwhile, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted: “Thank you for shining your light and sharing your talent with the world. My love and strength to your family.”
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris also paid her respect by posting a picture of him and Bosemand with the caption “Heartbroken. My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned, and humble. He left too early but his life made a difference. Sending my sincere condolences to his family.”