LOS ANGELES (AP) – Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before rising to fame as the Royal Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, died of cancer on Friday, said his representative. He was 43 years old.
Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his reporter Nicki Fioravante told The Associated Press.
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, his family said in a statement.
“A true fighter, Chadwick has persevered through it all and brought you a lot of movies that you have come to love,” his family said in the statement. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to August Wilson and many more – all have been filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.
Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis.
Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small television roles before his first star tour in 2013. His striking portrayal of the stoic baseball star Robinson vs. Harrison Ford in 2013 “42 Attracted attention in Hollywood.
Boseman passed away the day Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson’s day.
His character T’Challa was first introduced in the 2016 hit Marvel movies “Captain America: Civil War”, and his “Wakanda Forever” salute resonated around the world after the release of “Black Panther” he two years ago.
“It’s a blow,” actor and director Jordan Peele said on Twitter, one of many who expressed shock as the news spread across social media.
“It broke me,” actor and writer Issa Rae said.