Absolutely devastating news tonight. “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman has passed away after a four-year battle with cancer at the age of 43 according to the Associated Press and a message confirming his passing on Twitter. According to AP and his official account, Boseman had been privately battling colon cancer since 2016, meaning his shot, worked, did press tours and fought through it all during the making of at least “Captain America: Civil War,” “Marshall,” his career-making “Black Panther” film and both of the ‘Avengers’ ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame’ finales.
Boseman died at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by his wife and family. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family 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. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
Boseman had never spoken about his illness or diagnoses publicly and its unknown currently how many of his co-stars and filmmaking collaborators knew. Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day (though traditionally done on April 15).
Boseman came to acclaim with roles “42” (2013) as Jackie Robinson and “Get On Up” (2014) as iconic singer James Brown, but it was his role as King T’Challa, aka The Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that really rocketed his star into the stratosphere. The first major superhero movie starring a Black actor in years (“Blade” being one of the first), “Black Panther” was a massive success grossing $1.344 billion worldwide, the 5th highest grossing Marvel movie film ever.
Most recently Boseman starred in Spike Lee‘s Vietnam War movie, “Da 5 Bloods,” and “21 Bridges” which was his first producing gig. He had apparently completed shooting on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” from director George C. Wolfe alongside Viola Davis, and was expected to do some voicing work in Marvel’s animated “What If?” due next year, but it’s unclear if that performance was completed or not.
“It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther,” his family wrote in their online statement. He will be missed beyond measure and never replaced. F*ck cancer, and 2020 can seriously go to hell.