Chadwick Boseman, the American actor who played the star role of “Black Panther” died on Friday.
According to a statement released on his official Twitter account, the actor had been battling colon cancer since 2016. He was 43, and he died at home, surrounded by his wife and family.
His publicist Nicki Fioravante, also confirmed his passing in a statement that read in part, “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman.”
“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.”
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Boseman, who also portrayed pathbreaking Black figures such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall, was particularly famous for his role as T’Challa or Black Panther, king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda in the Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther”, which was released in 2018.
According to the statement released by Nicki Fioravante, the role of King T’Challa was the “honor of (Boseman’s) career.”
The film, which was the first major superhero movie with an African protagonist; embodied pride, hope, and empowerment for African-American moviegoers. It was no surprise that many of them made a special occasion out of their viewing of the movie, adorned in African-inspired attires and accessories. Black Panther was also the first movie to star a majority Black cast; and the first to employ a Black writer and director, Ryan Coogler.
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Chadwick Boseman was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, the youngest of three boys. His mother, Carolyn, was a nurse and his father, Leroy, worked for an agricultural conglomerate and had a side business as an upholsterer. Boseman graduated from Howard University in Washington, DC, and in 2018, he returned there to give the class graduation speech. He concluded the speech with his iconic “Wakanda Forever” salute.
Martin Luther King III stated that with his roles, Boseman “brought history to life”. “As Black Panter, 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,” he wrote on Twitter.