The popular Black icon who created several firsts in his career has died after a four-year struggle with colon cancer.
Chadwick Boseman, synonymous with King T'Challa, the leading character from the superhit Marvel superhero movie Black Panther, passed away on Friday after an arduous four-year battle with colon cancer. The news of the Black cultural icon's death was announced on Twitter by his publicist Nicki Fioravante who wrote of the "immeasurable grief" the team has been left with. "It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman," She wrote. "It was the honor of his life to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.” As per CNN, the publicist said Boseman's wife and family were by his side at the time of his death. The 42-year-old had created history by becoming the first-ever actor to play a superhero which was entirely set in Africa. The movie became a swash-buckling hit too, grossing over $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office and even smashed through Hollywood's popularly held belief that movies with mainly black cast don't do well abroad.
the kindness in each of his responses pic.twitter.com/pfoy2QmQmU— Casey Neistat (@Casey) August 29, 2020
Although his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe elevated Boseman to a well-known star globally, he has had a glittering career outside of the superhero franchise. The 43-year-old was known for his reprisal of various historic Black American roles such as Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), and James Brown Get on Up (2014). The actor wasn't just a fighter on-screen either, he worked on filming most of his movies in recent years while battling through bouts of surgeries and chemotherapy. "A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you so many of the films you have come to love so much. 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," the statement on his Twitter account read.
Born in South Carolina on 29 November 1977, Boseman was the youngest of three boys to a mother who worked as a nurse and a father who worked in the textile industry. Boseman's first stint in performing arts came about in junior high when he staged a play as a protest against the shooting death of a basketball teammate, reports Variety. This role would later pave the way for a glittering career in Hollywood. He graduated from Howard University in Washington D.C., with a major in directing and even went back to the university to deliver a graduation speech in 2018, where he spoke of the struggles he faced in his career. "The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose," he said, before signing off with the Wakanda Forever salute.
Even though he was fighting cancer for the final part of his career, Boseman never released the news to the public. He was even undergoing treatment when he played Thurgood Marshall, NAACP lawyer, and future Supreme Court justice. The following year, in 2018, Black Panther released in theatres, catapulting him into one of the most coveted actors in Hollywood. The movie created plenty of firsts after it was nominated for Best Picture in the following year's Academy Awards before earning six other nominations and winning three. In one of his memorable interviews, Boseman spoke about what King T'Chala meant for two kids who had succumbed to the terminal illness just before the release of his movie. In an emotional statement, according to Fox News, he said: "What they and their parents said to me was, they were trying to hold on till this movie comes. To a certain degree, it’s a humbling experience because you’re like, this can’t mean that much to them." Boseman is survived by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward and children, all of whom stay in Los Angeles.