Chadwick Boseman, the man who brought Black Panther to life, has died.
The actor has been battling colon cancer since 2016, and died at home with his family and wife by his side, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account.
He was 43, his publicist, Nicki Fioravante said in a statement.
Before he was cast as the Marvel Studios superhero, Boseman’s career first exploded with his portrayals of Black American icons Jackie Robinson (in 2013’s “42”) and James Brown (in 2014’s “Get on Up”).
“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” said a statement posted to his Twitter feed. “It was the honor of his life to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
Although Boseman never spoke publicly about his diagnosis, according the statement, he worked through his treatment for much of his career, starting when he played another Black American icon, NAACP lawyer and future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, in 2017’s “Marshall” — a year before the premiere of “Black Panther.” Boseman most recently appeared in the Spike Lee’s Vietnam War drama “Da 5 Bloods,” and this year he’s due to appear opposite Viola Davis “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a feature adaptation of the August Wilson play, directed by George C. Wolfe.
It’s difficult to understate the impact “Black Panther” and Boseman had on the larger culture. The film was the first superhero movie ever nominated by the Academy Awards for best picture, earning six other nominations and winning three. More to the point, as Black Panther, Boseman presented to the world an image of a powerful and thoughtful Black man who was the leader of a thriving African nation and a superhero willing to race into whatever battle he felt was worth fighting, no matter the odds.
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