Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has passed away at age 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Boseman is best known for playing the role of King T’Challa of Wakanda/ Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2018. Black Panther reportedly became the first superhero film to get a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards.
Boseman was diagnosed with Stage three colon cancer in 2016 and had been battling the disease for four years. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all,” his family said in a statement, adding, “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.” Bosewick passed away surrounded by his loved ones at his home. The actor was prepping to reprise his role of King T’Challa in the sequel of Black Panther that was due to release in 2022. Read the full statement from his family here:
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
Here are Boseman’s five most memorable quotes:
Black Panther – cultural significance
Born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, Boseman started his career with a TV show called Third Watch in 2003. He played multiple roles of prominent African-America figures such as soul singer James Brown in Get on Up, first African-American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the film Marshall, and basketball player Jackie Robinson in 42.
Black Panther, his most iconic film, went on to mint over one billion dollars at the box office. Comparing the cultural significance of his previous films where he played real historical figures, to the popular role of Black Panther, Boseman said, “I hesitate to say this is bigger, those are real historical figures and moments,” adding, “But what this is, it’s a cultural moment that is happening right now. We’re not remembering breaking the color barrier or how funk was created. We’re living this.”
Boseman wished Black Panther was a superhero ” that I hope people grow to love.”
On being surrounded by strong women
Boseman once revealed how comfortable he was while working with women actors, while shooting for his Marvel film, having grown up around strong women. “For me, it was a comfortable place having so many women allies in the film as I am constantly surrounded by a lot of women … There are strong women I grew up with. With a strong mother who has strong sisters. They have always covered me throughout my life with prayers, lessons, encouragement. They have always in their own way shown that they are independent. So I have grown up with that my entire life,” he had added
On embracing his African roots
Boseman appeared at the Black Panther world premiere in January 2018 wearing traditional African clothing and celebrating his roots. “Seeing my mom watch what was going on and being able to introduce her to certain people. That was my favorite part of the night,” the star told USA Today in 2018.
A superhero with an African accent
While the Marvel film marked an important cultural moment by signing a black lead actor, many were divided over whether or not the lead of a Marvel film should have an African accent. “There was a time period where people would ask me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character that spoke with that accent,” he said at the time.“I became adamant about the fact that it’s not true,” he added.
‘I can’t rest on my laurels’
On his larger-than-life status courtesy playing a Marvel Superhero, he said, “I try to remove myself from the impact of the movie, because I have to get back to work. I can’t rest on my laurels. At the same time, it’s a joy to see, even more so than this award, just the effect the film has on different people from various walks of life, no matter what race, gender or age. To be a part of something that has affected people in different countries, that is humbling, and liberating,” the actor told GQ last year.
On equal opportunities for everyone
In 2019, Boseman took home the SAG Award and delivered an exceptional speech about dreams and equality. Referring to the famous Nina Simone song To Be Young, Gifted & Black, he said, “It’s one of my favorite sayings in poetry. It speaks to the fact that you have the same dreams as other people, you have equal if not more talent at times, but you don’t have the same opportunities. You don’t have the same doors opened to you, the same nepotism, the same money or resources that can be put towards your dreams. And you a lot of times don’t have family members that have ever achieved the things that you want to do.”
Picture credit: Bell of Lost Souls