Chadwick Boseman death: Black Panther star dies of cancer aged 43

The Marvel actor decided not to make his diagnosis public

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 29 August 2020 08:06 BST
Tributes paid to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman
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Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has died of cancer aged 43.

The actor, who inspired audiences around the world in his role as a black superhero in the Marvel film, died at home in Los Angeles.

He had been diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, but chose not to make the news public.

His family and friends revealed that all of his films were shot despite countless surgeries and chemotherapy.

A statement posted on the actor’s Twitter account on Friday called him “a true fighter” and said he had “persevered through it all”.

The post appeared to show he had quietly married his long-term girlfriend in the final months of his life.

Chadwick Boseman in 2018’s ‘Black Panther’ (2018) (Rex Features)

Boseman rose to stardom playing real-life figures – baseball great Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), and soul singer James Brown in Get on Up (2014).

But he will be best remembered for playing the first black superhero to lead his own film as King T’Challa in Black Panther, which was released in 2018.

The film’s vision of Afrofuturism and the technologically advanced civilisation of Wakanda resonated with audiences, some of whom wore African attire to showings and helped propel Black Panther to more than $1.3bn (£1bn) in the global box office. Black Panther was the first superhero film to receive an Oscar nomination for best picture.

The statement on his Twitter account said that being cast in Black Panther was “the honour of his career”.

His “Wakanda Forever” salute reverberated around the world after the film was released.

His Marvel co-stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson, were among those who paid tribute.

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Hulk star Ruffalo wrote: “What a man, and what an immense talent. Brother, you were one of the all time greats and your greatness was only beginning. Lord love ya. Rest in power, King.”

Larson wrote: “Chadwick was someone who radiated power and peace. Who stood for so much more than himself.” Jackson said Boseman was “a talented and giving artist & brother who will be sorely missed”.

Boseman’s other credits included 2019 blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, and, most recently, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods.

Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Washington DC’s Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013.

Actor and director Jordan Peele described his death as “a crushing blow”.

“This broke me,” said actor and writer Issa Rae.

Read further tributes, including from Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, here.

Additional reporting by agencies

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