Tributes paid as Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman dies aged 43 after private cancer battle

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

Tributes have been paid to Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who has died at the age of 43.

The Hollywood star died at home with his wife and family by his side after a private four-year battle with colon cancer.

Boseman, whose family described as a "true fighter", filmed some of his most famous roles while undergoing treatment, a diagnosis he never spoke about publicly.

Blockbuster hit Black Panther, which made Boseman a superstar, was filmed and released during while the star was still having treatment for the disease.

Former US president Barack Obama is among those to have paid tribute to the star.

Retweeting a post by Boseman, which included a picture of the pair talking, Mr Obama recalled meeting the actor when he visited the White House to work with children.

“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.”

Marvel chief Kevin Feige, who cast him as Black Panther, said his death was “absolutely devastating”, while Get Out filmmaker Jordan Peele said it was a “crushing blow”.

Marvel colleague Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the Marvel films, said: “Gonna miss you mate," he said, "absolutely heartbreaking. One of the kindest most genuine people I’ve met. Sending love and support to all the family xo RIP.”

Chris Pratt, also a Marvel star, said: “My prayers go out to Chadwick’s family and loved ones. The world will miss his tremendous talent. God rest his soul. #wakandaforever.”

Singer John Legend described Boseman as a "bright light, such a gifted performer" and said he was "shocked and heartbroken" at the news of his passing.

British Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo said Boseman was “a gentleman” and “the kindest superhero I have ever met”.

In a touching tribute, she wrote: “Took my hand and walked me down the steps, had a hug every time we met. There was only ever love. A real one. We lost a real one. I’m truly crushed.

“We lost the Black Panther, the hero that gave our babies a hero to aspire to. Just f****** heartbroken. Dearest Chadwick You will never be forgotten. Rest In Power!! God Rest your soul kind man.

What was the impact of Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa?

Boseman was cast as superhero T’Challa, the king of African nation Wakanda, in 2014, and made his debut as the character in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War before the character headlined a hugely successful blockbuster in 2018.

The release of Black Panther in 2018, two years after Boseman was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, was a landmark moment for representation in Hollywood.

Black Panther was a hit with critics who praised its diversity and it grossed over 1.3 billion dollars at the global box office, as well as earning a best picture nomination at the Academy Awards.

It also sparked a worldwide celebration of African culture - with the character’s famous “Wakanda Forever” salute inspiring millions of people to feel an added sense of pride in their African heritage.

In his tribute, Feige, mastermind of the extraordinarily successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, 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."

In a statement, his family said he was a “a true fighter" who "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 was the honour of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

The family added: “The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks you to continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”

The Hollywood actress Kate Hudson also paid tribute, saying Boseman’s death was “devastating”.

She wrote on Instagram: “I have no words, just love and tears at the moment."

"Sending all this love to his family and all the film families that had the pleasure to work along side this beautiful man. Rest my friend.”

Award-winning actor Sterling K Brown had a supporting role in Black Panther and shared a tribute to Boseman on Twitter.

He said: “I don’t have words. Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here. Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed.”

The NAACP, one of the leading civil rights groups in the US, shared a tribute to Boseman on Twitter.

Boseman’s portrayal of Marvel superhero Black Panther was lauded as an important landmark in the fight for wider representation in Hollywood.

The NAACP said: “For showing us how to conquer adversity with grace… For showing us how to ‘Say it Loud!’… For show us how to walk as a King, without losing the common touch…. For showing us just how powerful we are… Thank you #ChadwickBoseman #RestInPower #BlackPantherForever.”

The film academy described Boseman’s death as an “immeasurable loss”.

It added: “From Black Panther to Da 5 Bloods, Chadwick Boseman brought strength and light to the screen, every time.”