On Friday, August 28th, it was announced that the actor, producer, and director passed away in his home, surrounded by his family. He had been battling colon cancer privately since 2016.
Boseman was known for playing exceptional characters such as Jackie Robinson in “42” (2013), Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall” (2017), and James Brown in “Get on Up” (2014). He starred in Marvel Cinematic Universe films became their first leading Black superhero, Black Panther. It was intended he continued this role in a second “Black Panther” movie, which was going to be released on May 2022. Marvel has previously recast roles in the MCU, but fans are already campaigning for the studio not to recast T’Challa. One of his fans said: “Don’t recast. He can’t be replaced.” His final role will be in the film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” set to air on Netflix later this year.
He played Black Panther in more than one Marvel film during his illness. Now, knowing that he was sick, it’s almost incomprehensible when you look at the physicality of the role alone, and yet he also starred in other films during that time frame. His personal trainer, Addison Henderson, told that Boseman spent a year in constant training for the films.
Chadwick Boseman was more than an actor. Boseman was an activist and a hero to so many in the black community. His love and devotion for his community translated into the most amazing performances as he represented black heroes and icons like Robinson, Brown, and Marshall; roles which uplifted the black community. He also visited young cancer patients in the hospital, even as he battled his own disease. Boseman once got emotional during an interview with SiriusXM talking about two little boys who were terminally ill and whose parents told him they were trying to hold on for the release of “Black Panther”. “It means a lot,” he said through his tears.
Boseman will be remembered and cherished as a superhero off-screen as much as he was in real life. Several actors and directors have shared their thoughts to honor his legacy.
Angela Bassett, who played his mother in “Black Panther,” recalled receiving an honorary degree from Howard University in Washington, DC, years ago, and Boseman, then a student, was assigned to escort her on campus.
“Mr. Boseman leveled the playing field while fighting for his life… That’s heroism… I’ll remember the good times, the laughter, and the way he changed the game…” –Robert Downey Jr.
“Rest gently, King. Chadwick Boseman” – Beyonce.
Spike Lee, his director in the Netflix film “Da 5 Bloods”, paid tribute to Boseman on Instagram with a photo captioned “God Is Love. Love Is Chadwick.”
Chadwick Boseman was a gentle, gifted soul who showed us compassion and true greatness in between his own struggles with surgery and chemotherapy. We will forever remember him and his legacy.