US acting superstar Chadwick Boseman has passed away at the age of 43 after a private four year battle with colon cancer.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
The actor, whose career will be best remembered for roles highlighting social injustices and empowering black people, rose to prominence on the big screen in 2013 Baseball drama 42 and was the lead actor in Marvel’s Black Panther.
In his role as King T’Challa, Boseman contributed to an amassed gross over $5billion at the worldwide box office from his debut in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War to 2019’s highest grossing film of all time Avengers: Endgame.
Black Panther was seen as a cultural milestone, with the film marking the first time in history that a release directed by a black man (Ryan Coogler) and starring a predominantly black cast had reached a gross of over $1billion at the worldwide box office. It was also the first superhero film to ever receive a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Boseman is said to have worked one last time as T’Challa, offering his voice to Disney Plus series ‘What If…?’, with episodes scheduled to be released in 2021. It is not known whether his work was completed or whether it will be used.
His final film performance will be in the posthumous role of Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a George C. Wolfe directed adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play. Boseman has already been seen on screen this year in a central role on Spike Lee’s lauded Vietnam war revisitation Da 5 Bloods, in which he played an integral member of the central group who passed away far too early but left an indelible mark on each person he touched. The role, given the circumstances, now feels apropos.
Speaking at a Hollywood Reporter Roundtable in 2018, Boseman said of the experience of black people in creative industries that ‘most people don’t even see acting as a possibility – it is not a viable career option for most of us’ and that, as an actor, “you’re pulling from things that most people don’t obviously deal with. You’re dealing with intimate parts of your reality, political parts of your reality, social parts of your reality that most people don’t have to deal with on a day to day basis. You do it because you love it, you don’t do it because of what people think – you know; I want to be famous. That’s not what it is.”
Chadwick Boseman passed away peacefully at his home in the company of his immediate family after a battle with colon cancer that included surgeries and chemotherapy, and was never made public.
Tributes have already begun to flood in, with fellow Avengers star Mark Ruffalo tweeting the following and #WakandaForever trending on Twitter.
It was the highest honor getting to work with you and getting to know you. What a generous and sincere human being. You believed in the sacred nature of the work and gave your all. Much love to your family. And much love from all of us left here.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 29, 2020