Remembering Chadwick Boseman, “Black Panther” Star and Activist, After His Recent Passing


Chadwick Boseman, reportedly full of laughter and love during his lifetime, smiling during a red carpet interview.

Chadwick Boseman, best known for starring in Marvel’s Black Panther, passed away after a four year battle with colon cancer on August 28th. He was 43.


Boseman was born in 1976 and grew up in South Carolina. As a junior in high school, he wrote his first play, Crossroads, the story of a basketball teammate who was tragically shot and killed. While attending Howard University, he was sponsored by actor Denzel Washington to attend a summer program at the British American Dramatic Academy in Oxford.


As a young actor, Boseman landed roles in various shows, including Third Watch, ER, and Law and Order. In 2008, Boseman played NFL halfback Floyd Little in The Express. That same year, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. His career broke through in 2013 after he starred as baseball player Jackie Robinson in the movie 42. Boseman went on to play “The Godfather of Soul”  James Brown (Get On Up), and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (Marshall). In 2018, Boseman won international acclaim for playing King T’Challa in Black Panther. Black Panther was an instant success and catapulted him to stardom. Boseman was thoughtful in choosing his roles, explaining, “The projects that I end up doing, that I want to be involved with in any way, have always been projects that will be impactful, for the most part, to my people.”


Black Panther co-star Danai Gurira wrote that, “[Boseman] made everyone feel loved, heard and seen.” Boseman frequently made surprise visits to children’s cancer hospitals and collaborated with Marvel producer Nat Moore to fulfill a young cancer patient’s request from the Make-A-Wish foundation. To fulfill the boy’s request, Boseman went the extra mile, saying, “If we were able to ease their suffering and bring joy for a moment, and hopefully moments, as he goes through the bags, then we made a difference in his life.” 


Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. His cancer progressed to stage IV, and he died from complications. Because he never spoke publicly about his illness, many fans were shocked to hear of his death.


Boseman deliberately chose to keep his illness private, confiding only in family and a few close friends. For years, he underwent surgery and chemotherapy between shoots. His agent, Michael Greene, revealed Boseman was in “hardcore pain” while filming his final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which will be released posthumously. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler reflected, “Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering.” 


Chadwick Boseman will be remembered not only for his contributions to film, but also for the joy and compassion he exhibited through adversity. He was truly a hero on and off-screen, and will not be forgotten.