Black Panther star who broke barriers is no more
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose work celebrated African-American pioneers and culture, has died at age 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer, according to an announcement posted on Friday to his social media accounts.
Boseman, a native of South Carolina who began his screen career in episodes of television dramas such as Third Watch, Law & Order and ER, passed away at his home, with his wife and family at his side, the statement on Twitter and Facebook said. It did not specify when he died. He resided in Los Angeles.
Boseman made his feature film debut with a small part in the 2008 sports biopic The Express, a drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first Black player to win the Heisman trophy.
He went on to star as a number of other real-life characters famed for breaking America’s racial barriers, including soul singer James Brown in Get on Up, Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, and baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson in 42.
But the actor’s most memorable role was his performance as T’Challa, king of the fictional, futuristic African kingdom of Wakanda and the crime fighter known as Black Panther, in the first major studio superhero movie featuring a predominantly African-American cast.
Embraced by global audiences, Black Panther became the second highest grossing movie at box offices worldwide in 2018, heralded for its vibrant celebration of African culture and applauded as a milestone for racial diversity in Hollywood.
The film was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture. It won three Academy Awards — in the best original score, best costume design and best production design categories. It also won the top Screen Actors Guild award for best movie ensemble.
Boseman originated the Black Panther film role two years earlier in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, and reprised the part twice more in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.