Whether it was his fight for injustice or his private battle with health, we can all agree Black Panther, played to perfection by actor Chadwick Boseman, had a profound affect on all of our lives. He was a hero by day, and a human by night.
Finally succumbing to a four-year battle with cancer, Boseman died Friday night at the age of 43. The news spread quickly about his death and tributes on social media appeared just as fast.
His family put out the following statement: “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much.“
In a statement, Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer, Marvel, said, “Chadwick’s passing is absolutely devastating. He was our T’Challa, our Black Panther, and our dear friend. 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. He was as smart and kind and powerful and strong as any person he portrayed. Now he takes his place alongside them as an icon for the ages. The Marvel Studios family deeply mourns his loss, and we are grieving tonight with his family.”
Most Liked Tweet of All Time
Now defined as the most “ liked” tweet of all time, “A tribute fit for a King. #WakandaForever,” Twitter said on its own verified account.
The tweet surpassed an August 2017 post from former President Barack Obama, which was previously the most-liked tweet of all time.
The announcement of the star’s passing was followed by a retweet of Chadwick and the President shaking hands in 2016 with the following caption, “ Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson. You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years.”
Marvel Studios released a simple tweet which sums up their feelings about Boseman’s contributions. “You will always be our King.”
Some of our most influential celebrities also shared their personal connection to Boseman, some who knew him personally, and some like the rest of us, knew him from the way we connected to his characters on screen.
Actress and Singer, Demi Lovato tweeted, “ I never met @chadwickboseman but he was so incredibly talented and I’ve only heard friends or industry people say nothing but incredible things about him. RIP King”
TV Writer and Creator of Pose on FX, Steven Canals tweet’s “ Reflecting on how he fought privately, not publicly, for 4 yrs. How Black & Brown people often suffer in silence because we’ve been conditioned to remain strong & forge ahead, even in the face of insurmountable obstacles. I hope his battle was bolstered by love. #RIPChadwick”
His Marvel co-stars also shared tribute on their Twitter accounts…
Mark Ruffalo, who co-starred with Boseman in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame posted, “ This is his power and impact on the next generation. #ChadwickForever”
Chris Evans, who appeared alongside Boseman in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, said, “ I’m absolutely devastated. This is beyond heartbreaking. Chadwick was special. A true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I’m endlessly grateful for our friendship. Rest in power, King.”
Angela Bassett also tweeted, “ 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! 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 honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience.”
The most significant statement via social media is by director Ryan Coogler of Marvel Studios with the following. “In African cultures we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again. “
Consider this, during his four years of battling Stage 3 and 4 of Cancer, Boseman made Black Panther, 42, Da 5 Bloods, Marshall, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. He also made a point of visiting terminally ill children in hospitals and his last tweet asked Americans to VOTE.
Chadwick Boseman manifested the true definition of the “Black hero”, and gave us one for what lays ahead in the coming months.
Jessica Velle is writer from Los Angeles, CA. She focuses on shining a light on culturally diverse stories.