Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal "Black Panther" in the Marvel cinematic universe, died Friday of cancer, his representative said. He was 43. Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist told the AP. Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, his family said in a statement. "A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much," his family said. "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 honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther." Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis.
Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013. His striking portrayal of the stoic baseball star Robinson in 2013's 42 drew attention in Hollywood and made him a star. Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson Day. In addition to Robinson and Brown, Boseman portrayed US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017's Marshall. He took on his first producing job in last year's action thriller 21 Bridges, in which he also starred, and was last seen on the big screen in Spike Lee's film Da 5 Bloods as the leader of a group of Black soldiers in the Vietnam War. "This is a crushing blow," actor and director Jordan Peele said on Twitter, one of many expressing shock as the news spread across social media. "This broke me," actor and writer Issa Rae posted.
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