Chadwick Boseman On What Making ‘Black Panther’ Meant to Him

The devastating news that Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman passed away from colon cancer has shaken the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Boseman received his diagnosis in 2016, but he continued to work while keeping his battle private.

Chadwick Boseman Black Panther
‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Chadwick Boseman died with his family by his side

According to the New York Times, Boseman died at his home in Los Angeles on Friday, August 28 at the age of 43. His publicist confirmed the death and shared that Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, and family were by his side when he passed.

A statement posted on Boseman’s Instagram account revealed that Boseman received his Stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis in 2016. It eventually progressed to Stage 4.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the statement said. “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.”

Boseman didn’t find fame in Hollywood until the age of 35 when he starred as Jackie Robinson in the biopic 42. He proceeded to star in a string of hits, including his turn as James Brown in Get On Up and as Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.

Of course, he achieved global fame for his portrayal of T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther.

Marvel stars share their grief on social media

As one of the biggest stars in the MCU, Boseman was in the prime of his career when he died. Those who worked with the actor have shared their grief on social media, including those from the Marvel community.

The official Marvel Studios Twitter account wrote that their hearts were broken, and their thoughts were with Boseman’s family. Studio president Kevin Feige issued a statement saying that Boseman’s passing was “devastating.”

He was our T’Challa, our Black Panther, and our dear friend,” read the statement, according to IGN. “…He was as smart and kind and powerful and strong as any person he portrayed. Now he takes his place alongside them as an icon for the ages. The Marvel Studios family deeply mourns his loss, and we are grieving tonight with his family.”

Other tributes on social media have come from Black Panther co-stars Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Sterling K. Brown (N’Jobu), and Andy Serkis (Klaw). Condolences also came from his extended MCU family, including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ryan Reynolds.

Chadwick Boseman got emotional talking about what ‘Black Panther’ meant to 2 young cancer patients

According to Page Six, Boseman once got emotional when he talked about his friendship with two young cancer patients. It happened during an interview on SiriusXM with Sway Calloway. Fans now know that Boseman was secretly fighting his own cancer battle at the time, making the clip even more heartbreaking.

In the clip, Boseman attempts to fight back tears while talking about two young boys named Ian and Taylor who were dying from cancer. He said that the boys were so excited to see Black Panther. They were fighting to live long enough so they could see the film.

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While talking about Ian and Taylor, Boseman struggled to keep his composure. It appears that he is trying to say the boys didn’t make it.

“When I found out that they –” said the actor as his eyes filled with tears before a long pause. “So yeah, it means a lot.”

Boseman said that it was a “humbling experience” to know that kids were fighting to survive because they desperately wanted to see Black Panther. He couldn’t believe it meant so much to them, but then realized they anticipated “something great.”

To be young, gifted, and Black

When Black Panther won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards, it was Boseman who gave the memorable acceptance speech. In the speech, Boseman opened up about knowing they had something special with their turn in the MCU.

“To be young, gifted and Black, we all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured,” he said. “Yet, you are young, gifted and Black. We know what it’s like to be told to say there is not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on.

“We know what it’s like to be a tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day because we knew, not that we would be around during awards season and that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”

Rest in power, King