Actor Chadwick Boseman sadly passed away after a four-year battle with colon cancer on Friday (August 28). He was 43-years-old.
His publicist Nicki Fioravante broke the unfortunate news on Friday via his social media account. Fioravante reported that Boseman was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016, and in his final days, he battled with the disease as it progressed to stage four cancer. The actor fought silently while continuing to make timeless films.
Most notably recognized for his leading role as T’Challa in the Black Panther, Boseman brought stellar performances to many films he touched.
Boseman portrayed historical figures from Jackie Robinson in 42, to James Brown in Get on Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. A hero on the screen and off the screen, Boseman quietly battled cancer while making groundbreaking films.
Journalist Jemele Hill recalled the amazing work he created during his four-year battle. “During that time, he gave us Civil War, Marshall, Black Panther, Infinity War, Endgame, 21 Bridges, and Da 5 Bloods,” Hill tweeted. “Lord only knows what he was going through on a daily basis.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers echoed Hill’s sentiments. The baseball team recalled Boseman’s portrayal of Jackie Robinson in 42. “From playing legendary figures to becoming one, we’ll never forget your iconic performance as Jackie Robinson and your many inspiring roles, the team tweeted. “You will be missed, Chadwick Boseman.”
Born and raised in South Carolina, Boseman’s road to Hollywood started in his junior year of high school when he wrote his first play, Crossroads, and staged it after a classmate was shot and killed.
Boseman later attended Howard University, where he graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing. Eighteen years later, the HBCU-graduate returned to his alma mater to give the 2018 graduating class commencement speech. The school tweeted a statement from Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick about the alum’s passing.
“It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of alumnus Chadwick Boseman who passed away this evening,” Frederick stated on Howard University’s twitter page. “His incredible talent will forever be immortalized through his characters and through his own personal journey from student to superhero! Rest in Power!”
From powerful lines on the big screen to heartfelt messages in his own life, Boseman acted out and lived a life that one could only marvel over.
At the 50th NAACP Image Awards, Boseman spoke on discovering one’s purpose in life. “I feel like I’m living in my purpose,” he stated. “But, the funny thing about purpose, it unfolds more and more to you every day.”
Unfold, it did. Actress Angela Bassett revealed how the two met long before Boseman would play her on-screen son in Black Panther. In an Instagram post, Bassett shared that Boseman reminded her of how they had met years before making the film during the Black Panther premiere party.
When Bassett received her honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort her that day. “And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever,” the actress stated.
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“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever! We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.” #WakandaForever
In his last social media post, Boseman shared his excitement for Kamala Harris‘ historic selection as the first Black woman vice presidential-candidate in a major party election. He encouraged fans and friends to vote in the 2020 election, eluding in a photo with Harris who his pick would be.
Harris, also a Howard University alum, shared her thoughts on Boseman’s passing. “Heartbroken. My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned, and humble,” she tweeted. “He left too early, but his life made a difference. Sending my sincere condolences to his family.”
At the news of Boseman’s passing, fans and friends expressed their love for the actor and his silent fight with cancer.
Oprah Winfrey: “What a gentle gifted SOUL. Showing us all that Greatness in between surgeries and chemo. The courage, the strength, the Power it takes to do that. This is what Dignity looks like.”
Black Panther: “Our hearts are broken, and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman’s family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace.”
Black Panther Co-star Sterling K. Brown: “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.”
Actress Viola Davis: “Chadwick…no words to express my devastation of losing you. Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity…It was an honor working beside you, getting to know you…Rest well prince…May flights of angels sing thee to thy heavenly rest. I love you!”
Actor Samuel L. Jackson: “THANK YOU @chadwickboseman for all you gave us. We needed it & will always cherish it! A talented & giving artist & brother who will be sorely missed. RIP.”
Chadwick Boseman died in his home with his wife and family by his side. Our thoughts and prayers are with Boseman’s friends and families.