Marvel Studios Pays Tribute to Late Black Panther Actor Chadwick Boseman

Marvel Studios has paid tribute to Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame star Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. The star, who portrayed Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up before being cast as Wakandan prince-turned-King T'Challa in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, became the first Black actor to lead a solo Marvel Studios movie when reprising his role in the Ryan Coogler-directed Black Panther. The blockbuster, which grossed $1.34 billion globally, earned seven total Academy Award nominations and was the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture.

"Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman's family," reads a statement published to social media. "Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace."

"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 a statement from Boseman's team. It was "during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy" throughout this private illness that the actor filmed Thurgood Marshall biography Marshall, period music drama Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and the Spike Lee-directed Da 5 Bloods.

"It was the honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther," the statement from Boseman's camp continues.

Months after Black Panther, Boseman returned as the character in Avengers: Infinity War, where T'Challa's homeland was the setting for a high-stakes battle between Josh Brolin's Thanos and Earth's mightiest heroes. Boseman last appeared as the character in the Anthony and Joe Russo-directed sequel, Avengers: Endgame, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time.

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Speaking about the importance of Black Panther and its predominantly Black cast in a 2018 interview with The Los Angeles Times, Boseman said, "The projects that I end up doing, that I want to be involved with in any way, have always been 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, and in my dreams."

In August 2019, Coogler and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced Black Panther II for May 6, 2022. That same summer, Boseman was among the Marvel stars confirmed to be lending voices to Disney+ series What If…?, the first Marvel Studios-produced animated series expected to release in 2021.