Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, has died after a battle with colon cancer. He was only 43 years old.
Statement Posted on Social Media
A statement posted to the actor’s social media by his family said Boseman had been battling the disease since 2016 when he was diagnosed with stage three. It later developed to stage four, they said.
Boseman never publicly discussed his diagnosis.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you so many of the films you have come to love so much,” the family’s statement reads.
View this post 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. Photo Credit: @samjonespictures
Boseman was previously known for playing baseball legend Jackie Robinson and music pioneer James Brown in the biographical films 42 and Get On Up, respectively, before being cast as Black Panther — the first African American superhero to get his own Marvel film.
The 2018 film became one of Marvel’s biggest successes, grossing over US$1.3 billion, and is the highest-grossing film in the MCU after the four Avengers instalments. The latter two of those films also featured Boseman.
The success of Black Panther went beyond box office grosses. The “Wakanda Forever” salute used repeatedly by Boseman and his costars in the film’s Afrofuturistic society quickly became a solidarity symbol for the worldwide Black community. Some audiences wore African attire to screenings and erupted in celebratory dances and chants in movie theatre lobbies and parking lots.
That cultural significance propelled the film to a Best Picture Oscar nomination, the only Marvel entry to date to earn that achievement.
Boseman was slated to appear in a sequel to Black Panther, which is still in development. He was recently seen in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods on Netflix.
The family’s statement says Boseman acted in all those films and more “during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy” treatments.
Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University in 2000 and had small roles in television before his first-star turn in 2013, when he portrayed Jackie Robinson in 42.
Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson Day.
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