Actor Chadwick Boseman, who essayed fictional Wakandan king T’Challa in Black Panther movie has passed afer a four-year fight with colon cancer, his family announced in a statement. He was 43.
Born in South Carolina to African-Americans Carolyn and Leroy Boseman, the actor studied at Howard University and graduated with a degree in directing. Later, he attended the Oxford Mid-Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in London and then to New York City’s Digital Film Academy.
He initially worked as a drama instructor at theSchomburg Center for Research in Black CultureinHarlem, New York but moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time.
Boseman started his career on the small screen with 2003 Third Watch, featuring in just one episode. He made similar appearances in popular shows such as Law & Order, CSI: NY and ER. The following year, Boseman played baseball star Robinson opposite Harrison Ford in 42. The film, which dealt with the issue of racial integration in American baseball, catapulted him to fame in Hollywood.
The actor was praised for his authentic and stoic portrayal of the former baseball player. Coincidentally, Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day.
His next memorable role was in Get on Up, Tate Taylor’s biographical drama on the life of singer James Brown. But it was his turn as Wakanda king T’Challa aka superhero Black Panther, a role he played in four Marvel films, that brought him global popularity.
He was first introduced in 2016’s blockbuster Captain America: Civil War. Two years later, the actor made history by leading a virtually all-Black cast with solo Marvel movie Black Panther. The Ryan Coogler-directed feature is considered a landmark film for the way it projects Black identity.
Boseman played T’Challa who takes on the mantle of Black Panther after his father, T’Chaka, the king of the fictional but powerful African country Wakanda, dies in a bomb blast. Black Panther was a major hit for Disney-owned Marvel Studios, grossing over $1.3 billion in worldwide gross and becoming the first superhero film to be nominated for the Best Picture at Oscars.
The film is also popular for giving the “Wakanda Forever” salute that reverberated around the world soon after the film’s release and started trending on social media as the news about the actor’s death spread. Boseman reprised the role of Black Panther for Anthony and Joe Russo’s two-part Avengers epic—Infinity War and Endgame. Both the films were global hits.
He had recently appeared in Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee’s timely movie Da 5 Bloods, about a group of aging Vietnam War veterans who return to the country in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader. His last film will be Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.