Marvel actors and Kevin Feige pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman

Late on Friday night, Chadwick Boseman’s family confirmed in a deeply felt letter that the Black Panther actor had passed away at the age of 43 after a four-year fight with colon cancer. Messages of grief, shock, and love poured in immediately, turning Boseman’s family’s tribute into one of the most retweeted messages in history. Everyone seemed to agree: The world had lost a creative force and one of the great performers of his generation. He was more than T’Challa, but he also was T’Challa to a generation who needed a hero. His passion and thoughtfulness were at the heart of the cultural phenomenon that was Black Panther, and by all accounts, his joy beamed far beyond the screen.

“Chadwick’s passing is absolutely devastating,” Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer, Marvel, said in a statement. “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.”

Bob Iger, who oversaw The Walt Disney Company when Boseman first stepped into the role of Black Panther, also offered an emotional word on the loss of the actor. “We are all heartbroken by the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman — an extraordinary talent, and one of the most gentle and giving souls I have ever met,” he said in a statement. “He brought enormous strength, dignity and depth to his groundbreaking role of Black Panther; shattering myths and stereotypes, becoming a long-awaited hero to millions around the world, and inspiring us all to dream bigger and demand more than the status quo. We mourn all that he was, as well as everything he was destined to become. For his friends and millions of fans, his absence from the screen is only eclipsed by his absence from our lives. All of us at Disney send our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Over the course of the night and into Saturday, Boseman’s costars in Black Panther, as well as Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, took to social media to express their own grief and pay tribute to the late actor. (Polygon will continue to update this story as additional comments come in.)

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“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. 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. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.” #WakandaForever

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Credit: Marvel actors and Kevin Feige pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman