Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has been remembered as “a caretaker, a leader and a man of faith” following his untimely shock death.
Boseman’s family announced on 28th August that the star, best known for playing Marvel superhero Black Panther, had died following a private four-year battle with colon cancer.
The news sent shockwaves through Hollywood with former US president Barack Obama among those paying tribute alongside Boseman’s fellow stars from the Marvel movies.
Boseman, a devout Christian, died at home surrounded by his loved ones, including wife Taylor Simone Ledward, his family said.
He never discussed the illness publicly and films including Black Panther, Da 5 Bloods and Avengers: Endgamewere all filmed “during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy”, they added.
President Obama recalled meeting the actor when he visited the White House while he was starring in 2013 film 42 as American baseball player Jackie Robinson.
‘You could tell right away that he was blessed,’ the former president tweeted. ‘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.’
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler said he had worked with the star without knowing about his illness. “I realised that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him,” Coogler said. “Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art.”
Boseman had previously opened up about being cast in the role of Black Panther, saying it was something he had prayed for. He was also famous for delivering a powerful, inspirational commencement speech to Howard University’s graduating class of 2018, in which he spoke of the importance of his Christian faith.
Boseman began his speech with the words, “First, giving honour to the Creator”, before he shared a story from his early acting career, when he put his faith in God during a particularly difficult time after he lost a lucrative role because he disliked that it was “wrapped up in assumptions about us as black folk” with “barely a glimpse of positivity or talent in the character, barely a glimpse of hope”.
He had turned to scripture to help him overcome his disappointment. He said: “As the Scripture says, I planted the seed, and Apollos watered it. But God kept it growing,” Boseman said, quoting 1 Corinthians 3:6.
“God says in Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future’,” Boseman said, quoting Jeremiah 29:11.
“Graduating class, hear me well on this day when you have reached the hilltop, and you are deciding on next jobs, next steps, careers, further education, you would rather find purpose than a job or career.”
Read more on Chadwick Boseman in this week’s Catholic Universe, out on Friday 4th September, in Leon Spence’s column, titled ‘Chadwick was the real-life superhero our world needed’. To subscribe see:
Picture: Archive photo, dated 29th January 2018, of Chadwick Boseman attending the premiere of Disney and Marvel’s Black Panther at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. (Hahn Lionel/ABACA/PA).