Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman has died at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer, his family said in a statement.
The Hollywood star died at home with his wife and family by his side, the statement said.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” it added.
“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.”
Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis.
The US actor had been known for playing real-life figures, including professional baseball player Jackie Robinson in 2013 biopic 42 and James Brown in 2014’s Get On Up, before he landed the Marvel role which made him a superstar.
He first played Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, before the character headlined a hugely successful blockbuster in 2018.
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.
In June he starred in Spike Lee’s searing drama Da 5 Bloods, playing a Vietnam soldier.
Following the shock news of his death, tributes to Boseman poured in from across the entertainment industry.
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.
“Can we please just love on each other now, we are losing each other!!!”
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.
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. 🤜🏿🤛🏿 https://t.co/8rK4dWmorq
— Sterling K Brown (@SterlingKBrown) August 29, 2020
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”.
An immeasurable loss. From "Black Panther" to "Da 5 Bloods," Chadwick Boseman brought strength and light to the screen, every time. pic.twitter.com/vRXxYU8Tbr
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 29, 2020
It added: “From Black Panther to Da 5 Bloods, Chadwick Boseman brought strength and light to the screen, every time.”
Black Panther scored seven nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, including best picture.
It won for best costume design, best original score and best production design, becoming the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to win an Academy Award.