Chadwick Boseman has died, as confirmed by posts made to his social media accounts. The actor — known for his fearless cinematic portrayals of Black icons Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and perhaps most famously, King T'Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — had been diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. He "battled with it these last [four] years as it progressed to stage IV," a social media note posted to his accounts read. Boseman was 43.
"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. 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 continued. "It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther."
"He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time."
Boseman's turn as Black Panther in four Marvel films, including the Oscar-winning 2018 film centering around the character, was widely hailed, and he told MTV News that year that its impact had taken on "a life of its own." "Sometimes just looking at what people create from the movie, the inspirations from the movie, the fan art, posters, recreating our posters... it's amazing to watch. I've never seen anything like it before in my life," he said.
Before T'Challa, Boseman had become a leading man in Hollywood for his steadfast work in Black American biopics. In 2008, he portrayed football player Floyd Little in The Express: The Ernie Davis Story before moving on to embodying Jackie Robinson in 2013's 42, James Brown in 2014's Get On Up, and Thurgood Marshall in 2017's Marshall.
Earlier this year, he appeared in Spike Lee's Netflix war drama Da 5 Bloods as Norman Earl "Stormin' Norm" Holloway, the character whose death in Vietnam galvanizes his old squad buddies to reconvene decades later for another mission through the jungle. His final on-screen feature role will likely be in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which is currently in post-production.
But it's his role as conflicted central leader of the Black Panther saga — which included roles in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, two of the highest-grossing films of all time — that made him an international symbol of heroism and Black strength. A sequel, tentatively titled Black Panther II, is currently in development with a slated release date of May 6, 2022.
On social media, tributes to Boseman began rolling in shortly after his death was announced.