Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, dead at 43

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Jeremiah Booth, In-depth Writer

I was watching television in my bedroom when my father called me and told me that “the guy who plays Black Panther died.” Initially, I didn’t believe him because the internet tends to lie to people. I then checked his Twitter account to find out it was true. 

Chadwick Boseman, known best for his role as King T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther passed away on August 28, 2020, after a silent four-year battle with cancer, according to a post from his Twitter account. The post states that the actor passed away in his home with his wife and his family by his side. Boseman was 43 according to the New York Times. 

“Chadwick was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016, and battled it these last four years as it progressed to stage four,” the post said. 

“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 post said. 

Boseman had not publicly disclosed his personal conflict with cancer so his death took not only me, but the world by surprise. His death impacted me heavily from two angles, both as an aspiring actor and a young multiracial male who identifies as African American. 

The post added that it was “the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.” President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige and “Black Panter” director, Ryan Coogler, announced in August 2019 that “Black Panther 2” would be released in May 2022. 

When Boseman made his debut as Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War,” I wasn’t exactly phased because he didn’t play a center role in the film and we’d already had black superheroes without their own films such as War Machine and The Falcon, played by Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie, respectfully. 

Then two years later, we got a Black Panther solo film. which focused on the character and his home country of Wakanda in Africa. The film opened to great anticipation, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year in the United States. I felt a great amount of pride seeing him star in the first big picture Black superhero movie and seeing someone who comes from the same ethnic background as me in a position I’ve dreamt of being in myself. After the release of “Black Panther” the Black community all around the world expressed the immense satisfaction and delight they felt, and I myself, felt prideful. I understood more each time I watched it how big of a win that movie was and still is for our community and how it opened so many doors that many of us thought would always stay closed. 

He reprised his role in both “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” which were released in 2018 and 2019. Both films were the highest grossing of the year they were released, with Endgame becoming the highest-grossing film of all time.  

Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, which eventually progressed to stage IV before 2020. He had never spoken publicly about his diagnosis. During treatment, he went through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. Despite this, he still worked and completed production for several films, including “Marshall,” “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and others.  

Another testament to his perseverance and strength was a member of his inner circle telling press, that while he was steadily compiling one of the most impressive acting portfolios in modern Hollywood history, he was in tremendous pain. This goes to show that it really is mind over matter and you can do anything you set your mind to. Nothing has shown me that no matter what I’m going through to persevere. 

Following his death, he received endless praise on social media, with fans, friends, and other celebrities paying homage.  

Many of the posts came from people who knew him personally, but even more came from fans he inspired and touched, whether he knew them or not. This included me and multiple people that I know. 

I made a post on both Instagram and Facebook about how I was “genuinely very shaken,” and continued on about how “I looked up to him a ton.” While I never met him, nor did most of his fans, he knew all of us. He knew the hardships that came with being a minority in America and persevered, nonetheless. He showed us that no matter how hard life knocks you down, to get back up and hit harder. 

“I’ll always remember watching Chadwick in “42.” Barack and I were alone in the White House, on a weekend night with the girls away. I was so profoundly moved by the rawness and emotion in the barrier-breaking story. And not long after, when he came to meet with young people in the State Dining Room, I saw that Chadwick’s brilliance on screen was matched by a warmth and sincerity in person.  

There’s a reason he could play Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and King T’Challa with such captivating depth and honesty. He, too, knew what it meant to truly persevere. He, too, knew that real strength starts inside. And he, too, belongs right there with them as a hero—for Black kids and for all of our kids. Theres no better gift with which to grace our world,” said Michelle Obama on Instagram following a photo of the two.” 

Actors and actresses, he worked with also paid homage to the late actor via Instagram. 

I’m absolutely devastated. This is beyond heartbreaking. Chadwick was special. A true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. Few performers have such power and versatility. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I’m endlessly grateful for our friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in power, King,” said Chris Evans, who he acted alongside in “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Avengers: Endgame.”  

Chadwick Boseman impacted countless people around the world while he was alive and even now after his passing. He showed children all around the world, most importantly Black children, that they can do anything they dream of doing. For us, Chadwick was and is a hero not only in his movies, and not just in real life, but in our hearts.