Actor Chadwick Boseman has died at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.
According to a statement, Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and “battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage IV.” Boseman kept his diagnosis private up until his death.
“He died in his home with his wife and family by his side,” the statements continues. “The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Boseman is best known playing Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in four films: the titular Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: End Game.
He also played Jackie Robinson in 42; James Brown in Get On Up; and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. He most recently starred in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. His final on-screen role, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, is currently in post-production.
Born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, Boseman graduated from T. L. Hanna High School in 1995. His eyes were set on the stage early on, however, as he wrote his first play Crossroads in his junior year following the death of his classmate.
Following high school, Boseman went on to study at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. It was here he met his mentor, the great Phylicia Rashad, who helped raise funds so that he and his classmates could attend the Oxford Mid-Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in London.
Upon returning Stateside, Boseman headed north to New York City, where he studied at New York City’s Digital Film Academy and went on to work as a drama drama instructor in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program. Throughout the aughts, he landed one-off roles in television series such as Third Watch, Law & Order, CSI: NY, and ER.
In 2008, Boseman finally decided to head out west and pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. He secured his first recurring role on Lincoln Heights as Nathaniel “Nate” Ray, which he parlayed into another major role in Persons Unknown.
Boseman’s first top-billed performance in a feature film came in 2012’s The Kill Zone. A year later, he starred alongside Harrison Ford as Jackie Robinson in Brian Helgeland’s biopic 42. History came calling again in2014 after with the critically-acclaimed biopic Get On Up, which saw Boseman turn a number of heads as singer James Brown.
In 2016, Boseman made his epic arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther in Marvel’s Avengers-lite enry, Captain America: Civil War. Two years later, he would change film history forever with his own MCU chapter: 2018’s Black Panther. Grossing $1.3 billion dollars worldwide, Ryan Coogler’s Oscar-winning blockbuster became the highest-grossing film by a Black director, the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time, and the third-highest-grossing film in the U.S. and Canada.
Boseman reprised his role as Black Panther twice more in both 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and last year’s juggernaut epic Avengers: Endgame. The latter will now tragically mark his final appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite being set to return for Black Panther 2 in 2022.
Outside the MCU, Boseman once again dabbled in history by portraying Thurgood Marshall in Reginald Hudlin’s 2017 film Marshall. This past summer, Boseman worked with Spike Lee in Da 5 Bloods in which he played a fallen squad leader, whose on-screen death will only carry more weight in the years to come.
His final appearance will be in George C. Wolfe’s forthcoming drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is currently in post-production and due for release on Netflix. Based on the play of the same name by August Wilson, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter in Chicago circa the 1920s. The film also stars Viola Davis.
A Christian and a man of faith, Boseman died far too young, a promising talent who had so much more to offer. Like so many stars of young Hollywood before him, Boseman will live on not only in our memories but through his accomplishments — a short gasp of triumphs that will continue to endure for decades to come.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020