The entertainment world got some sad news on Friday night. Actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for his role as King T’Challa in the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther,” passed away at age 43. Boseman was reportedly battling colon cancer for four years prior to his death.
A statement posted to his Twitter account reads, “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. It was the honor of his life to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther.’”
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
His passing came as a surprise to fans considering that Boseman had never spoken publicly about his battle with cancer.
Outpouring of Support
Waves of support for Boseman started to appear on social media in the moments following the announcement of his death. Fans of Marvel movies and his other work expressed their grief and condolences.
The Russo brothers, who directed “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” said on Twitter, “Chadwick was such an elegant man with great integrity and tremendous talent. He inspired an entire generation to stand up and be king. Honor him by emulating him-show kindness and love to others. Share your talents in ways that impact. Always strive to be a light in the darkness.”
Striving to be a light is something Boseman did throughout his career. In 2013, he played the role of Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in Major League Baseball, in “42.” Boseman’s passing occurred on Jackie Robinson Day, which honors the real-life player.
He also played Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights activist, in the 2017 film “Marshall.”
However, it was his role as Black Panther that allowed Boseman to touch the lives and hearts of millions. The role of King T’Challa helped him overcome stereotypes and cultural boundaries in an unprecedented way.
Disney’s executive chairman Bob Iger said, “He brought enormous strength, dignity, and depth to his groundbreaking role of Black Panther; shattering myths and stereotypes, becoming a long-awaited hero to millions around the world, and inspiring us all to dream bigger and demand more than the status quo.”
No one can forget the cultural impact of “Black Panther.” In the wake of its 2018 release, the “Wakanda forever” salute became an icon for social activism. Later that year, “Black Panther” became the 12th-highest-grossing movie of all time and the highest-grossing movie by a black director. The film set a new precedent for diverse representation not only in comic book movies but also in the rest of Hollywood.
Boseman was set to reprise his role as King T’Challa in the “Black Panther” sequel, slated for release in 2022. Although it isn’t important at the moment, it is unclear if the movie had already completed filming prior to Boseman’s passing.
Ultimately, Boseman leaves behind an unforgettable legacy that will inspire both current and future generations. Actor Mark Hamill perhaps sums it up the best, saying, “A deeply gifted man is gone too soon. His memory will blaze on fiercely… from here to eternity.”
Just when you thought 2020 couldn't get any worse…
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 29, 2020