Fans of Chadwick Boseman, star of Marvel’s Black Panther, woke up to the sad news that the 43-year-old actor and producer had died on Friday 28 August 2020, after battling colon cancer since 2016.

Chadwick Boseman
RIP Chadwick Boseman
Image credit: Sam Jones Pictures

This news comes as a huge shock as there has been no news about his illness over the last four years.

Confirming the news of his death, his family shared the following message on Instagram:

“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.”

Boseman became a much-loved symbol of pride and power to the worldwide Black community after making the role of T’Challa his own in the Marvel hit, Black Panther in 2018. Smashing the myth that films centred around Black characters wouldn’t do as well, the film went on to become one of Marvel franchises best-selling of all time.

The talented actor branched out from his superhero character a number of times, taking on hefty roles of real-life Black historical figures, such as Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), James Brown in Get on Up (2014), and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017).

More recently, he starred in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and will also be featured in the upcoming film adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which we now know he filmed while undergoing countless surgeries and chemotherapy.

Boseman was notoriously passionate about his craft; having attended Howard University, he was able to follow his dream of becoming an actor through the support of Hollywood icon, Denzel Washington who funded his place at the British American Drama Academy of Oxford, England, through a scholarship. He honed his acting craft for many years in TV and film roles before landing his breakout role as T’Challa.

To think that Boseman gave us this iconic performance while privately going through the battle of his life is humbling. His former mentor Denzel Washington said what we are all feeling in an Instagram tribute: “Words can’t begin to describe the pain that many of us, especially his family are feeling right now. Hard to imagine the quiet pain and struggle you went thru all these years, yet still you shined and motivated us all. Live like a Superhero die like a Legend. Rest In Power KING”.

Indeed, rest in power forever, Chadwick Boseman!

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