Chadwick Boseman has died at 42 after a four-year fight with colon cancer.
“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” the statement read.
“Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV.”
WHO IS CHADWICK BOSEMAN?
Boseman is best known for playing the titular character T’Challa/Black Panther in the 2018 Marvel Studios/Disney blockbuster, Black Panther.
It became the first ever superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, and was the first film in the Marvel Cinematics Universe to win an Oscar. Against a budget of $US 200 million, Black Panther grossed an astronomical $US1.347 billion – making it the 11th highest grossing movie of all time.
Prior to Black Panther, Boseman’s character T’Challa was introduced in MCU’s Captain America: Civil War in 2016.
Boseman subsequently appeared in MCU films as Black Panther including Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and the highest grossing film ever, Avengers: Endgame (2019).
While filming these blockbusters, Boseman was undergoing countless surgeries and chemotherapy in private.
Speaking about his groundbreaking role in Black Panther, Boseman told Hunger in 2017 he had prayed about portraying the part.
“I had already written about Black Panther in my journals as something that I wanted to do and I had written down certain things that I would like to see in a movie about Black Panther,” Boseman said.
“I’d had people tell me that if there was gonna be a Black Panther movie then I should be the one to play him, so when they called me it was surreal. You pray for something and then it actually occurs, you almost can’t believe it.
“There was no way in the world I was not going to play Black Panther, I had asked for that, I wanted it, and it felt like other people wanted it for me.”
His most recent films were action thriller 21 Bridges (2019) with Sienna Miller and Netflix war drama Da 5 Bloods (2020).
His final film, which is yet to be released and in post-production, is upcoming Netflix drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is co-produced by Denzel Washington.
Filming wrapped in August last year. It does not yet have a release date.
Boseman plays trumpeter Levee in the film, which is set in Chicago in the 1920s and deals with issues of race, art, religion and will delve into the exploitation of black recording artists by white producers.
Black Panther 2 had been announced for a May 2022 release but has not yet begun production.
Born in 1976 in South Carolina to African American parents Leroy and Carolyn, Boseman graduated from Howard University in Washington in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing.
He got his first television role in 2003, in an episode of Third Watch. His early work included roles in Law & Order, CSI: NY, and ER, as he wrote plays on the side.
Boseman got a big break in 2008 with a recurring role on the television series Lincoln Heights and appeared in his first feature film, The Express: The Ernie Davis Story. He then landed a regular role in 2010 in another television series, Persons Unknown.
In 2013 Boseman was considering giving up acting and focusing on his early dreams of being a director when he scored his debut starring role in the film 42, in which he portrayed baseball pioneer and star Jackie Robinson.
The following year he starred alongside Kevin Costner in Draft Day, in which he played an NFL draft prospect, and backed that up with roles on Get on Up and Gods of Egypt.
He had unsuccessfully auditioned for Drax in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), but this screen test later helped him nab the role of Black Panther.
“Well, sometimes, that’s the way it works as an actor. You go in knowing you’re not gonna get it, but you’re meeting the people that, you know they might be like, ‘It’s not this, but we’ll put him in this other thing’,” he told Jimmy Fallon last year.
“So, I feel like that was one of the moments where they were like, ‘Hey, we could use him later’.”