Chadwick Boseman, the actor best known for his role in the 2018 Marvel film Black Panther, died on Friday, following a private battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
The American actor died at his Los Angeles home surrounded by his family, publicist Nicki Fioravante told the Associated Press (AP) news agency.
An announcement of the actor’s death was made by his family on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, following his four-year cancer battle. He is survived by his wife and parents.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the statement said. “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.”
Boseman first caught Hollywood’s attention portraying historical figures, such as in the film 42, in which he played Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play Major League Baseball,. He also starred in the biopic on musician James Brown in Get on Up.
But he is most noted for his role as King T’Challa in the 2018 Marvel film Black Panther, based on a Marvel comic character. It was the first superhero blockbuster to feature a predominantly African-American cast. His family said the role “was the honour of his life”.
The film went on to win three Academy Awards in 2018, the first-ever for Marvel Studios. A sequel had been announced for 2022.
Boseman had never spoken publicly about his battle with cancer. According to the statement on his social media accounts, he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, with the disease ultimately advancing to stage 4. A wave of shock and condolences poured out following news of the actor’s death.
“Heartbroken. My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned, and humble. He left too early but his life made a difference,” wrote recently nominated Democrat Vice-Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. Harris and Boseman are both graduates of Howard University in Washington DC.
“From Black Panther to Jackie Robinson, he inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even superheroes,” wrote US Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Twitter.
US Major League Baseball also honoured the actor’s memory and his portrayal of Jackie Robinson.
“[Boseman’s] 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,” the sports association wrote on Twitter.