Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, has died of cancer.
He was 43.
Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante said.
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, his family said in a statement.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the statement read.
“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.
“It was the honour of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
A man dressed in a suit sings at a microphone in a still from a movie.
Chadwick Boseman channels James Brown in Get On Up.(Supplied)
Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis.
Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013.
His striking portrayal of the stoic baseball star Robinson opposite Harrison Ford in 2013’s 42 drew attention in Hollywood and made him a star.
Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day.
Chadwick Boseman waves to fans on the red carpet. The fans are behind a partition, with Boseman separated by velvet ropes.
Chadwick Boseman at the 2019 Academy Awards, where Black Panther was nominated for seven Oscars.(Supplied: AMPAS, Richard Harbaugh)
His T’Challa character was first introduced to the blockbuster Marvel movies in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and his “Wakanda Forever” salute reverberated around the world after the release of Black Panther two years ago.
The character was last seen standing silently dressed in a black suit at Tony Stark’s funeral in last year’s Avengers: Endgame.
Even at the outset of his Hollywood career, Boseman was clear-eyed about and even sceptical of the industry in which he would become an international star.
“You don’t have the same exact experience as a black actor as you do as a white actor. You don’t have the same opportunities. That’s evident and true,” he told AP while promoting 42.
“The best way to put it is: How often do you see a movie about a black hero who has a love story — with a black woman, or any woman for that matter … he has a spirituality. He has an intellect. It’s weird to say it, but it doesn’t happen that often.”
Chadwick Boseman reflects on the role of ‘young, gifted and black’ artists in Hollywood.
In addition to Robinson and Brown, Boseman portrayed US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017’s Marshall.
He took on his first producing job in last year’s action thriller 21 Bridges, in which he also starred, and was last seen on-screen in Spike Lee’s film “Da 5 Bloods” as the leader of a group of black soldiers in the Vietnam War.VOX