Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — Hollywood and the Black community are mourning the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, the charismatic star of “Black Panther” and “42,” who died of colon cancer Aug. 28 at the age of 43 at his home in the Los Angeles area.
“Chadwick was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage 4,” a representative said in a statement on Boseman’s Twitter account.
Boseman portrayed the superhero Black Panther in four Marvel Cinematic Universe films — “Captain America: Civil War,” “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
“It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther,’” the statement said.
Boseman’s first starring role was as baseball legend Jackie Robinson in “42.” Ironically, the night he died Major League Baseball was honoring Robinson on the 75th anniversary of his agreeing to play for the Dodgers.
The following year he played James Brown in “Get On Up.”
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you 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 family statement said.
Boseman died at his home surrounded by his wife and family, according to the statement.
Boseman was raised in South Carolina before moving to Washington to study at Howard University, where he graduated in 2000.
California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, and a fellow Howard graduate, tweeted that she was heartbroken by Boseman’s death.
“My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned and humble,” Harris tweeted. “He left too early but his life made a difference.”
Robert A. Iger, executive chairman of the Walt Disney Co., whose holdings include Marvel, described Boseman as an “extraordinary talent and one of the most gentle and giving souls I have ever met.”
“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,” Iger said.
Said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris: “The absolute pinnacle of our profession is not fame, fortune or accolades. It is the simple act of touching someone’s heart, nourishing their soul and giving voice and meaning to our hopes and dreams.
“Chadwick soared far above those heights inspiring a thousand possibilities in the minds of our children while elevating our culture. He exemplified the best of storytelling and the best of who we can be leaving a lasting legacy that sustains us.”
A candlelight vigil in Boseman’s memory was organized by Project Islamic Hope at 5 p.m. Aug. 29 at Leimert Park.
It gave fans and admirers of the young actor a chance to grieve together, said Ali, who insisted all in attendance wear face masks and social distance to guard against COVID-19 exposure.
“Black kids across the nation are in grief,” Ali said. “They are coming to grips and trying to deal with it.”
Even after the vigil ended, people continued to leave flowers and cards at the park in support of Boseman’s family.
A cancer survivor, Ali said he was especially moved by Boseman’s death because he underwent two years of chemotherapy and was impressed with the work Boseman was able to do while battling cancer. “He fought cancer four years while still working and making blockbuster classics. His legacy will last forever.”
Reactions to Boseman’s death came from across the country. Former President Barack Obama said: “Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson. You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain — what a use of his years.”
Actress Angela Bassett:
“I am honored that we enjoyed [a] full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.”
Actor Sterling Brown: “I don’t have words. Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here. Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed.”
Actor Don Cheadle: “I will miss you, birthday brother. You were always light and love to me. My god … forever and ever.”
Actress Kerry Washington: “A warrior of light til the very end. A true king. I am without words. May he rise in power.”
Actor Dwayne Johnson: “Hard to hear about this. Rest in love, brother. Thank you for shining your light and sharing your talent with the world. My love and strength to your family.”
Actor Mark Ruffalo: “All I have to say is the tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound by the loss of Chadwick Boseman. What a man, and what an immense talent. Brother, you were one of the all time greats and your greatness was only beginning. Lord love ya. Rest in power, King.”
Actor Chris King: “This is beyond heartbreaking. Chadwick was special. A true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I’m endlessly grateful for our friendship. Rest in power, King.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden: “The true power of @ChadwickBoseman was bigger than anything we saw on screen. From the Black Panther to Jackie Robinson, he inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even super heroes. Jill and I are praying for his loved ones at this difficult time.”
Actress Halle Berry: “Here’s to an incredible man with immeasurable talent, who leaned into life regardless of his personal battles. You never truly know what the people around you might be going through — treat them with kindness and cherish every minute you have together.”
Filmmaker Spike Lee: “We filmed ‘Da 5 Bloods’ in Thailand, and it was hot, jungles, mountains, and Chadwick was there with us all the way. I never, ever suspected that anything was wrong. No one knew he was going through treatment, chemotherapy. He was there every single minute in the moment. And his performance is a testament to what he put into that role, and all his roles. We miss you, Chadwick, we’re going to celebrate your life.”