‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman dies aged 43 after private four year battle with colon cancer

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Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has died after a private four-year battle with colon cancer, his family said in a statement on Friday. He was 43.

The actor passed away at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side. They did not specify when he died.

‘It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV,’ the family said.

‘A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much.’

The family revealed several of Boseman’s recent films, including Marshall, Da 5 Bloods, and August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, were filmed ‘during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.’

Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has died at age 43 after private four-year battle with colon cancer, his family said

 Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has died at age 43 after private four-year battle with colon cancer, his family said

His family confirmed his passing in a statement on social media on Friday, saying the actor had been diagnosed with stage III cancer in 2016 which later progressed to stage IV

His family confirmed his passing in a statement on social media on Friday, saying the actor had been diagnosed with stage III cancer in 2016 which later progressed to stage IV

Boseman is survived by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward (pictured together in 2019) and a parent and had no children.

 

The couple was last seen together at the 69th NBA All-Star Game in Chicago in February. Their marriage was not publicly reported until his death

Boseman is survived by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward (pictured) and a parent and had no children. The couple was last seen together at the 69th NBA All-Star Game (right) in Chicago in February. Their marriage was not publicly reported until his death

Boseman's most memorable role was his 2018 performance as T'Challa, king of the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda and the crime fighter known as Black Panther, in the first major studio superhero movie featuring a predominantly African-American cast. (Pictured during the film's premiere in London)

Boseman’s most memorable role was his 2018 performance as T’Challa, king of the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda and the crime fighter known as Black Panther, in the first major studio superhero movie featuring a predominantly African-American cast. (Pictured during the film’s premiere in London)

WHAT IS COLON CANCER?

Colon cancer is a cancer of the large intestine (the colon).

Usually, it starts with polyps, which are small clumps of cells.

Gastroenterologists can see them in a colonoscopy because they are raised off the surface of the colon like a mole.

Symptoms include:

  • Blood in your stool or rectal bleeding
  • Stomach cramps
  • Persistant gas
  • Never feeling like you have emptied your bowels
  • Exhaustion
  • Weight loss
  • Change in bowel habits that persists for more than a month

People with stage 1 tumors have a survival rate (living five years or more) of 80-95 percent.

At stage 2, the survival rate is 55 to 80 percent.

At stage 3, it’s about 40 percent, and at stage 4 it’s about 10 percent.

‘It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther,’ the statement said. ‘The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.’

Boseman is survived by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward and a parent and had no children, his publicist said. The actor had kept his diagnosis and much of his personal life under wraps.

He had been reported to be dating Ledward after the pair were spotted together on the red carpet at the 2019 SAG awards, but his marriage was not reported until his death.

The couple was last seen together in February at the 69th NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

Boseman had not spoken publicly about his cancer diagnosis, but had sparked concerns over his health earlier this year after fans took note of his unusually thin appearance.

Born in South Carolina the son of a nurse and an upholstery entrepreneur, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013. He has roots in the West African country Sierra Leone.

The actor had been known for playing real-life figures, including professional baseball player Jackie Robinson in 2013 biopic, 42, James Brown in 2014’s Get On Up, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017’s Marshall.

But his most memorable role was his 2018 performance as T’Challa, king of the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda and the crime fighter known as Black Panther, in the first major studio superhero movie featuring a predominantly African-American cast.

The film went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year and was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture. It won three Academy Awards – in the best original score, best costume design and best production design categories.

Boseman originated the Black Panther film role two years earlier in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, and reprised the part twice more in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

He shrugged off doubters who tried to convince him not to give the superhero an African accent, saying: ‘There was a time period where people would ask me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character that spoke with that accent. I became adamant about the fact that it’s not true.’

Bosewick (pictured left with Marvel creator Stan Lee in 2018) found fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe

Marvel Studios reacted to Boseman's death in a tweet on Friday saying, 'Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman's family'

Bosewick (pictured left with Marvel creator Stan Lee in 2018)  found fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe. Marvel Studios reacted to Boseman’s death in a tweet on Friday saying: ‘Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman’s family’

He took on his first producing job in last year's action thriller '21 Bridges' (pictured)  in which he also starred

He took on his first producing job in last year’s action thriller ’21 Bridges’ (pictured)  in which he also starred

Boseman had shared an Instagram post on Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, when fans took note of his unusually thin appearance

The actor (pictured in May) had not spoken publicly about his cancer diagnosis, but had sparked concerns over health earlier this year when he was spotted looking thinner

Boseman had not spoken publicly about his cancer diagnosis, but had sparked concerns over health earlier this year after fans took note of his unusually thin appearance (pictured left in April, and right in May)

Black Panther went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year and was nominated for six Oscars. Above the cast is seen accepting the award for Best Cast In A Motion Picture during the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2019

Black Panther went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year and was nominated for six Oscars. Above the cast is seen accepting the award for Best Cast In A Motion Picture during the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2019

News of Boseman’s death came on the day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson Day.

The holiday is usually observed on April 15, but the celebration was moved to August 28 to accommodate the COVID-19-altered schedule.

Boseman had shared an Instagram post at the time saying he was celebrating with the launch of Operation 42, an initiative donating $4.2million in personal protective equipment to hospitals servicing African American communities at the peak of the pandemic.

‘Thank you, Jackie, for refusing to accept the world as it is, for showing us that we can make a difference,’ Boseman said.

The post, which included a video of the actor wearing a ’42’ baseball cap, had sparked concerns among fans who pointed out that he had grown noticeably thin.

In June, Boseman joined more than 300 black actors and filmmakers who signed an open letter urging Hollywood to steer away from entertainment glorifying police brutality and corruption and to invest in anti-racist content.

The letter was written in the midst of a cultural and political reckoning with systematic racism in the United States in the wake of the George Floyd death in Minneapolis.

Avengers: Endgame co-star Brie Larson paid tribute to Boseman in a touching Instagram post remembering the star as 'someone who radiated power and peace'

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