‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Dies of Cancer at 43

Royal actor Chadwick Boseman, who represented a long-held dream of African-American moviegoers as the lead in the groundbreaking superhero film “Black Panther,” passed away at his home in Los Angeles. He was 43.

Chadwick Boseman Cause of Death

His representative has confirmed that Mr. Boseman has passed away and that his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, and other family members were with him. Mr. Boseman revealed on Instagram that he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2016 and that it had since progressed to Stage 4.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the statement 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.”

Mr. Boseman was relatively private for a Hollywood star, with few details about his life being made public. He was already 35 when he played Jackie Robinson in the blockbuster film “42,” but he made up for lost time with a series of Oscar-worthy turns in major biopics.

He played James Brown in “Get On Up,” Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall,” and T’Challa in “Black Panther,” and his unfussy versatility and old-fashioned gravitas made him one of his generation’s most sought-after leading men.

As the news of Mr. Boseman’s passing spread, many notable figures from the arts and civic life paid tribute to him. Human rights activist and eldest son of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King III praised the actor, saying that his portrayals of historic Black leaders “brought history to life on the silver screen.”

Chadwick Boseman Death
Chadwick Boseman Death

Democratic presidential nominee and former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. tweeted that Chadwick Boseman “inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even superheroes.”

On Twitter, Oprah Winfrey referred to Mr. Boseman as “a gentle gifted SOUL.”

“Showing us all that greatness between surgeries and chemo,” she added. “The courage, the strength, the Power it takes to do that. This is what Dignity looks like.”

Since he was an undergraduate at Howard University and worked at an African bookstore, Mr. Boseman liked T’Challa and Marvel’s “Black Panther” comics.

Mr. Boseman, when given a chance to bring the character and his fictional African homeland, Wakanda, to the big screen, embraced the role’s symbolic significance to Black audiences with a statesman’s pride and devotion. He advocated for the cast to use real South African accents and facilitated discussions about ancient African symbolism and spirituality while filming.

The film, which began production in 2017 after Mr. Boseman’s diagnosis, was a cultural phenomenon, the first major superhero film with an African protagonist and the first to star a majority Black cast. The film’s thematic heft and the dynamic performances from Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, and others were praised by nearly all critics.

Mr. Boseman played the role of Black Panther in both “Black Panther” and the two “Avengers” movies, “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019).

As a screenwriter (he co-wrote an unproduced script for an international thriller called “Expatriate”) and a producer (he produced and starred in the 2019 detective movie “21 Bridges”), he was working on multiple projects for what he hoped would be a successful new chapter in his career.

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