Chadwick Boseman, star of 'Black Panther', dies from colon cancer

Boseman, who was aged 43, had not publicly discussed his illness

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Chadwick Boseman, the star of the ground-breaking superhero movie Black Panther, has died from colon cancer.

Boseman, who was 43, had not publicly discussed his condition – first diagnosed in 2016 – and continued to work on major Hollywood films.

"It was the honour of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther," a statement by Boseman's family said.  "He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side."

He is survived by wife, Taylor Simone Ledward.

'Black Panther' star Chadwick Boseman dies

'Black Panther' star Chadwick Boseman dies

Boseman became the first black superhero to get his own standalone film in the record-breaking Marvel franchise with 2018's Black Panther.

The movie, set in the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda, was adored by critics and audiences, becoming the first comic book film to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars and grossing more than $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) worldwide.

Earlier in his career, Boseman played famous black figures Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up.

Most recently, he appeared in director Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and was set to appear in a sequel to Black Panther, due in 2022.

"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all" and worked on film projects "during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy," the family's statement said.

Full statement from Chadwick Boseman's family: 

"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."

Tributes flood in for Chadwick Boseman

Zoe Saldana commented on his family's statement on Instagram, writing: "The classiest avenger and most quiet warrior. My heart is heavy right now. I wished I had the courage to tell you how your performance of T’Challa was the best portrayal of a King I had ever seen. Rest in Power and Grace Brother. My sons will know your name forever!"

Oprah Winfrey wrote: "What a gentle gifted SOUL. Showing us all that Greatness in between surgeries and chemo. The courage, the strength the Power it takes to do that. I’m in shock and awe!"

"We love you so much,"  Chance the Rapper wrote. "Thank you for being so kind. You will be painfully missed. God bless you".

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay wrote: "May you have a beautiful return, King. We will miss you so."

One of the most touching tributes came from actress Angela Bassett, who starred as Ramonda, T'Challa's mother, in Black Panther. 

"It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family," she wrote. "But what many don't know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther.

"During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day.

"And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever," she wrote.

"We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honoured that we enjoyed that full circle experience.

"This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother."

This is Us actor Sterling K Brown wrote: "I don't have words. Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here. Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed."

"A warrior of light til the very end. A true king. I am without words. May he rise in power," wrote Scandal actress, Kerry Washington.

Viola Davis paid tribute to the actor, writing: " words to express my devastation of losing you. Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity........It was an honour working beside you, getting to know you....Rest well prince...May flights of angels sing thee to thy heavenly rest. I love you!

Additional reporting from AFP