‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman dies at 43

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Courtesy of: Creative Commons

Tiara Starks, Entertainment Editor

Fans from around the world are currently grieving over the death of actor, Chadwick Boseman, 43.

The “Black Panther” star died in his home after a four-year-long battle with colon cancer, his team wrote on the star’s Instagram page: “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” the Instagram post said. “⁣Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV.”

Born in Anderson, South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University with a degree in directing in 2000. Initially wanting to be a writer or director, he began studying acting in order to learn how to relate to actors for his films.

In 2008, he moved across the country from Brooklyn, New York to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career.

In that same year, he played a recurring role on the television series “Lincoln Heights,” and appeared in his first feature film, “The Express: The Ernie Davis Story.” Later, he landed a regular role in 2010 on another television series, “Persons Unknown.”

He had been directing an off-Broadway play in the East Village of Manhattan when he booked the role of professional baseball player, Jackie Robinson in the 2013 biopic, “42”. About 25 other actors had been considered for the role, but director Brian Helgeland said that he had admired Boseman’s bravery and cast him after having auditioned twice.

Following this film, he portrayed legendary singer/songwriter James Brown in the biographical musical drama, “Get On Up”.

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well can attest to the cultural impact that his portrayal of King T’Challa had. It took “Black Panther” only twenty-six days to gross one billion dollars at the box office, having been lauded for its diverse cast.

A known Christian man, Boseman stated that he prayed for the role of Black Panther and his presence in the film came at a time when Black children needed representation in the comic book genre has been oversaturated with primarily white characters in movie adaptations.

Students at the University of New Haven were also shocked by the news of the actor’s death.

“Chadwick was one of the very few men who I got to see get emotional after hearing about the impact of being the lead character in Black Panther,” said junior communication major Eldrick Greenaway. “He taught me that our stories matter as much as over voices matter and because of that I say, thank you, Chadwick.”

“I’m just shocked,” said senior communication major, Sean McGuire. “He had such a great career, but he could have done so much more for the Black community in cinema. He died too soon.”

“We lost our superhero,” said Jordan Harris, senior political science major and the university’s chapter president of NAACP, “and I think that hurts so much because growing up as a Black kid, we never really had our own superhero besides Static Shock. So to have Black Panther was so powerful and I’m just glad we appreciated him the way we did. He was just taken away so soon.”

According to the Associated Press, Boseman did not publicly disclose his battle with cancer. However, fans expressed their concern when images of his dramatic weight loss surfaced online, as well as an Instagram live he hosted, in which he was seen with a leaner frame in April.

Fans all over the world recall his time visiting child cancer patients at the Memphis Campus of the St. Jude’s Research Hospital in 2018 and his outpour over social media about what the experience meant to him.

“Had a birthday celebration with a beautiful little princess, Mady,” tweeted Boseman in Sept. 2018. “She let me throw the confetti twice. I think I had as much fun as she did. #StJude,” Boseman tweeted in September of that year.

Boseman is also recognized for starring roles in “Gods of Egypt,” “21 Bridges,” and Spike Lee’s, “Da 5 Bloods.”

Boseman will be seen in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” an upcoming drama film based on a play of the same name written by August Wilson. The film stars Viola Davis and will be marked as a posthumous release for Boseman.

He is survived by his wife, a parent, and his two brothers.