Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, died Friday of cancer, his representative said. He was 43.
Boseman passed away at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante told The Associated Press.
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, his family said in a statement.
“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 the statement. “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 honour of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther’.”
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis.
Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013. His striking portrayal of the stoic baseball star Robinson opposite Harrison Ford in 2013′s “42” drew attention in Hollywood and made him a star.
Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson Day.
We are devastated by the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman. His transcendent performance in “42” will stand the test of time and serve as a powerful vehicle to tell Jackie’s story to audiences for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/8oU7QpdLSE
— MLB (@MLB) August 29, 2020
“This is a crushing blow” actor and director Jordan Peele said on Twitter, one of many expressing shock as the news spread across social media.
“This broke me,” said actor and writer Issa Rae.
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.
The character was last seen standing silently dressed in a black suit at Tony Stark’s funeral in last year’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
Even at the outset of his Hollywood career, Boseman was clear-eyed about — and even skeptical of — the industry in which he would become an international star.
“You don’t have the same exact experience as a Black actor as you do as a white actor. You don’t have the same opportunities. That’s evident and true,” he told AP while promoting “42.” “The best way to put it is: How often do you see a movie about a Black hero who has a love story — with a Black woman, or any woman for that matter … he has a spirituality. He has an intellect. It’s weird to say it, but it doesn’t happen that often.”
In addition to Robinson and Brown, Boseman portrayed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017′s “Marshall.“
He took on his first producing job in last year’s action thriller “21 Bridges,” in which he also starred, and was last seen on-screen in Spike Lee’s film “Da 5 Bloods” as the leader of a group of Black soldiers in the Vietnam War.
#WakandaForever started trending on Twitter after the news of Boseman’s death broke on Friday night.
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/QNvzuZgAbe
— Black Panther (@theblackpanther) August 29, 2020
His friends and colleagues are paying tribute on social media.
This brother right here. Wow. No words. This life. https://t.co/tjHTMzLi9o
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) August 29, 2020
I don’t have words. Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here. Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed. 🤜🏿🤛🏿 https://t.co/8rK4dWmorq
— Sterling K Brown (@SterlingKBrown) August 29, 2020
May you have a beautiful return, King. We will miss you so. pic.twitter.com/jdip3RHoXb
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 29, 2020
Hard to hear about this.
Rest in love, brother.
Thank you for shining your light and sharing your talent with the world. My love and strength to your family. https://t.co/hNAWav7Cq8
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 29, 2020
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) August 29, 2020
Such a brutal loss. RIP, Chadwick.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 29, 2020
#chadwickboseman has died. What a shock; he was so young, but he made an indelible impression on all of us. My sympathies to his family, friends and fans, who loved him beyond measure. Rest In Peace.
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) August 29, 2020
Rest in Heaven 👑 https://t.co/3kDVUvdjEY
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) August 29, 2020
We never know what people are enduring. Humans…we are wonders.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 29, 2020
Chadwick Boseman brought history to life on the silver screen, from Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall.
As Black Panther, he was also a superhero to many.
And despite his 4 year long battle with cancer, he kept fighting and he kept inspiring. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/f0Tc8ByaXj
— Martin Luther King III (@OfficialMLK3) August 29, 2020
Eternally in power
— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) August 29, 2020
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. pic.twitter.com/C5xGkUi9oZ
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 29, 2020
The true power of @ChadwickBoseman was bigger than anything we saw on screen. From the Black Panther to Jackie Robinson, he inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even super heroes. Jill and I are praying for his loved ones at this difficult time.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 29, 2020
An immeasurable loss. From "Black Panther" to "Da 5 Bloods," Chadwick Boseman brought strength and light to the screen, every time. pic.twitter.com/vRXxYU8Tbr
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 29, 2020
We mourn the loss of @chadwickboseman. He was a brilliant actor who brought strength to our screens. His legacy will never be forgotten. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/TTHdgXM0OK
— SAG Awards® (@SAGawards) August 29, 2020
— Lil Rel Howery (@LilRel4) August 29, 2020
Oh no. https://t.co/pzMNQdmv60
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) August 29, 2020
What the fuck is happening? My God.
— Issa Rae (@IssaRae) August 29, 2020
Here’s to an incredible man with immeasurable talent, who leaned into life regardless of his personal battles. You never truly know what the people around you might be going through – treat them with kindness and cherish every minute you have together. RIP #ChadwickBoseman pic.twitter.com/NaNC5GKuut
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) August 29, 2020
A warrior of light til the very end. A true king. I am without words. May he rise in power. https://t.co/50nfbvZpAq
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) August 29, 2020
1 of my all time favorite people on the planet Chadwick Boseman has passed away after a 4 years of fighting cancer. An wonderful actor & a truly nice man. R.IP. condolences to his family
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 29, 2020
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.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 29, 2020
Awwwww mannnn R I P To the legend Chadwick Boseman this hurts bad I’m at a loss for words ‼️💔💔 pic.twitter.com/axzulF2cEZ
— Timbaland (@Timbaland) August 29, 2020
Fuck. Heartbreaking news. Shit shit shit. Ugh. https://t.co/hcjb4YxaCV
— Kevin Zegers is wearing a mask (@KevinZegers) August 29, 2020
This is a crushing blow.
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) August 29, 2020
So sad! RIP! https://t.co/jKt0rW6Kqo
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) August 29, 2020
Chadwick was really out here shooting all of these huge action movies while fighting stage 4 colon cancer. Man. Strong isn’t even the word.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) August 29, 2020
— Niecy Nash (@NiecyNash) August 29, 2020
absolutely HEARTBREAKING. wow. RIP 😔💔💔💔🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 https://t.co/Ot8oWPbdnr
— chloe x halle (@chloexhalle) August 29, 2020
Rest in Power, my king.
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) August 29, 2020
— Garcelle Beauvais (@GarcelleB) August 29, 2020
In November 2019, ET Canada’s Keshia Chante spoke with Boseman about how his life changed after “Black Panther”, while he was promoting “21 Bridges” with Sienna Miller. Watch below.