Chadwick Boseman, the intense, dynamic actor who starred in the smash hit “Black Panther” and portrayed legendary Black figures on screen including Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall, died Friday after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 43.
Boseman, who had fought colon cancer, died with his wife and family by his side, according to a statement published to his social media accounts.
“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” said the statement. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much.”
A native of Anderson, S.C., Boseman began his career in Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles in 2008. He had a breakout performance as Syracuse football star Ernie Davis in “The Express” that year and later starred in “42,” “Get on Up” and as Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall.”
Boseman was best known for his role as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the 2018 film of the same name.
He most recently starred in Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed “Da 5 Bloods” earlier this year.
Boseman never spoke publicly about his cancer diagnosis, even as it progressed to stage IV, and his death came as a shock to his legions of fans.
“A warrior of light til the very end,” fellow actor Kerry Washington wrote in a tweet. “A true king. I am without words. May he rise in power.”
“This is a crushing blow” actor and director Jordan Peele said.
“This broke me,” said actor and writer Issa Rae.
Boseman died on the night Major League Baseball players wore the number 42 in honor of Robinson.
Jackie Robinson Day is normally celebrated April 15, the day Robinson broke MLB’s color line, but the pandemic delayed it this season.
On April 15 this year, Boseman shared a photo of himself wearing a “42” hat, looking dramatically thin.