The world is reeling from the loss of iconic actor Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday, August 28, after fighting a 4 year battle with colon cancer. Boseman died at home surrounded by his family.
Worldwide (August 30, 2020) – A statement posted on his official Twitter account read: “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 four 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,” the statement concluded.
Boseman was the star of Marvel’s Black Panther franchise. Black Panther (directed by Ryan Coogler), was the first superhero movie to be nominated for a best picture Oscar and one of the highest-grossing films of all time, bringing in over $1billion.
Black Panther became more than a movie It morphed into a celebration of Black culture, art, history, achievement and intellect in addition to highlighting the Black cultural presence and influence in comic book culture.
The Howard University-educated thespian from Anderson, South Carolina, was mentored by fellow Howard University alum Phylicia Rashad and helped financially by Denzel Washington who paid for Boseman and several other Howard University students to continue their theater studies at Oxford University in England.
In 2018, the wunderkind performer delivered a powerful commencement speech at Howard University encouraging students to rise above traumatic experiences and applauded their campus activism.
Prior to breaking into film, Boseman lived in New York, teaching at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture while cutting his teeth on small roles on shows like Law & Order, Third Watch, ER and Lie to Me, eventually landing recurring roles on Lincoln Heights and Persons Unknown.
Boseman was no stranger to playing iconic characters, bursting onto the big screen in 2013’s 42 as baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in major league baseball. Boseman went on to star as Soul legend James Brown in 2014’s Get On Up; and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall in 2017. Boseman brought a quiet dignity and powerful presence to these characters, with performances reflective of the weight they hold in world culture.
Boseman also appeared as T’Challa/Black Panther in Avengers Infinity War and Avengers: End Game, starred in and produced the films 21 Bridges, Marshall and Message from the King, which he served as Executive Producer.
GONE TOO SOON
At the unpreceded age of 39, Boseman was made aware of the colon cancer that was ravaging his body and was already in stage three. Bozeman was undeterred and lived his remaining years as a real-life super hero. In his 4 remaining years, he made 7 films between several surgeries and many chemotherapy treatments.
Boseman’s costars or directors were aware that they were working alongside a true super hero. Boseman continued to work through his gloomy diagnosis and treatments. Despite his disease, he continued his strong work ethic and positive attitude so much so, that the those working closest to him were not aware that he was terminally ill. At the time of his death, Boseman was in pre-production and a producer on Yasuke, a film about the world’s first Black Samurai in which Boseman would star.
SOCIAL ACTIVIST, PHILANTHOPIST PAID IT FORWARD
Boseman was also an activist and philanthropist. The private public figure spent time visiting children suffering from cancer at St. Jude’s Research Center. In November 2019, Boseman donated $100,000 to #Change4Change, which supports HBCUs. In April 2020, the actor donated $4.2 million worth of PPE equipment to hospitals serving Black communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also supported social justice initiatives that included Michelle Obama’s #WhenWeAllVote and celebrating fellow Bison Kamala Harris’ history making selection as the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee for the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, which was his last Twitter post before his death.
Seven years after playing legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson in the film 42, Chadwick Boseman died on August 28, the same day Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson Day.
The youngest of four, Boseman is survived by his parents Leroy and Carolyn Boseman, siblings Kevin, Dionne and Derrick and wife Taylor Simone Ledward. Boseman was 43 years old.