Tributes have been paid to actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing superhero Black Panther, following his death at the age of 43 after a battle with cancer.
In an announcement that stunned Hollywood, Boseman’s family said he had been diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago and died surrounded by his loved ones, including wife Taylor Simone Ledward.
Marvel chief Kevin Feige, who cast him as Black Panther, said his death was “absolutely devastating,” while Get Out filmmaker Jordan Peele said it was a “crushing blow”.
Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins and Marvel stars Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt also paid tribute.
Boseman was cast as superhero T’Challa, the king of African nation Wakanda, in 2014, and made his debut as the character in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.
Chris Evans played Captain America and said: “I’m absolutely devastated. 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.”
The release of Black Panther in 2018, two years after Boseman was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, was a landmark moment for representation in Hollywood.
Both the film and Boseman’s portrayal of the titular superhero achieved universal acclaim as well as huge success at the box office.
It grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide (about €1.1 billion) and earned an Academy Award best picture nomination, the first superhero movie to do so.
It also sparked a worldwide celebration of African culture, with the character’s famous “Wakanda Forever” salute inspiring millions of people to feel an added sense of pride in their African heritage.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman’s family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/YQMrEJy90x
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) August 29, 2020
— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) August 29, 2020