By Taiwo Okanlawon
American actor, producer, and director, Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing Black Panther role in the Marvel superhero franchise, has died of cancer aged 43.
His publicist Nicki Fioravante announced his death in a statement posted on his social media.
According to the statement, the actor who has been battling colon cancer died at home in Los Angeles with his wife and family by his side.
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer since 2016 but had not made the information public.
Fioravante wrote, “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.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. 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.
“He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.
“The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020
According to BBC, Boseman came to prominence playing real-life figures – baseball great Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42, and soul singer James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up.
However, it will be as the titular Black Panther in the blockbuster 2018 film he will be best remembered.
Boseman stars as King T’Challa, the ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth.
As well as winning critical praise and taking more than $1.3 billion US dollars (£973m) at cinemas worldwide, the film was widely seen as a cultural milestone for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.
Boseman said last year that the film had changed what it means to be “young, gifted and black”.
Black Panther was the first superhero film to get a nomination for best picture at the Oscars.
He also played the same role in other Marvel films Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.
A sequel was in the works and due to come out in 2022, with Boseman set to return.
The news of his death came as a shock to many as Boseman never discussed his diagnosis publicly.
However, fans started raising concerns over his health this year due to noticeable weight loss.
Tributes have already begun pouring in for the star, including from celebrities and fellow Marvel star, and political figures.
According to Wikipedia, Boseman’s ancestors is partly from the Yoruba ethnic group in Nigeria, and partly from the Krio and Limba in Sierra Leone.
Born in South Carolina, Chadwick attended the famous HBCU, Howard University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, according to entertainment magazine, TMZ.