A statement confirming the death of actor Chadwick Boseman is the most liked tweet ever, according to Twitter. Published to Boseman's verified Twitter account @chadwickboseman Friday night, the statement from Boseman's family and representatives has received more than 5.7 million likes in less than 24 hours. The actor, who portrayed Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before becoming the first Black actor to lead a Marvel Studios movie with the Ryan Coogler-directed blockbuster Black Panther, died Friday at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.
"Most liked Tweet ever," reads a tweet from the official Twitter account. "A tribute fit for a King. #WakandaForever"
Most liked Tweet ever.August 29, 2020
"Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV," reads the statement from Boseman's family. He filmed several projects "during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy," including Reginald Hudlin's Marshall, Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods, and not yet released Netflix feature Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
It was during this time Boseman filmed his first solo feature as T'Challa, the King of African country Wakanda, in 2018's Black Panther. He reprised the role under directors Anthony and Joe Russo in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, Avengers: Endgame, which filmed back-to-back in 2017. The latter became the highest-grossing film in history after releasing in April 2019.
"It was the honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther," the statement reads.
The blockbuster, the first Marvel Studios-produced film with a predominantly Black cast, grossed $1.34 billion worldwide and earned seven nominations at the 2019 Academy Awards. Black Panther achieved another milestone when it became the first superhero film to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award.
Boseman's Marvel co-stars are among the Hollywood voices honoring the actor, whose illness was not made public before his death. Other notable figures paying tribute to Boseman include Michelle and Barack Obama, as well as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democratic Vice Presidental nominee Kamala Harris.
"Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman's family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace," reads a tribute shared across The Walt Disney Company's various social media pages.
In a statement published Friday night, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, a producer behind Black Panther, called Boseman's passing "absolutely devastating."
"He was our T'Challa, our Black Panther, and our dear friend," Feige said. "Each time he stepped on set, he radiated charisma and joy, and each time he appeared on screen, he created something truly indelible. He embodied a lot of amazing people in his work, and nobody was better at bringing great men to life."
While promoting his solo Marvel movie in 2018, Boseman told The Los Angeles Times he was drawn to projects "that will be impactful, for the most part, to my people — to Black people. To see Black people in ways which you have not seen them before."
"So Black Panther was on my radar," Boseman said at the time, "and in my dreams."
Admirers are honoring the actor across social media with the hashtags #WakandaForever as well as #ChadwickForever, referring to the "Wakanda Forever" salute made iconic by Black Panther.
Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman’s family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/DyibBLoBxz— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) August 29, 2020
becoming a long-awaited hero to millions around the world, and inspiring us all to dream bigger and demand more than the status quo. We mourn all that he was, as well as everything he was destined to become.— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) August 29, 2020
For his friends and millions of fans, his absence from the screen is only eclipsed by his absence from our lives. All of us at Disney send our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family.— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) August 29, 2020
An immeasurable loss. From "Black Panther" to "Da 5 Bloods," Chadwick Boseman brought strength and light to the screen, every time. pic.twitter.com/vRXxYU8Tbr— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 29, 2020
We never know what people are enduring. Humans...we are wonders.August 29, 2020
"We all know what it's like to be told there's not a place for you to be featured, yet you are young, gifted and Black." — @chadwickboseman talked about #BlackPanther's impact on the film industry during an acceptance speech at the #SAGAwards. https://t.co/uyHZBnTKFI— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) January 28, 2019
We are crushed. Marvel has lost a true superhero and friend, but our hearts are heaviest for Chadwick’s family. Chadwick was a singular force whose King T’Challa showed the world the power of good and the meaning of loyalty and friendship. Wakanda forever, my friend.— Louis D'Esposito (@louisde2) August 29, 2020
T'Challa in Black Panther
Jackie Robinson in 42
James Brown in Get on Up
Thurgood Marshall in Marshall
Iconic figures. Iconic roles.
RIP Chadwick Boseman pic.twitter.com/Mjt68cLXWI— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) August 29, 2020
Chadwick was such an elegant man with great integrity and tremendous talent. He inspired an entire generation to stand up and be king. Honor him by emulating him-show kindness and love to others. Share your talents in ways that impact. Always strive to be a light in the darkness. pic.twitter.com/8XRpRejnf7— Russo Brothers (@Russo_Brothers) August 29, 2020
May you have a beautiful return, King. We will miss you so. pic.twitter.com/jdip3RHoXb— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 29, 2020