The evening of Aug. 28, 2020, the world received heartbreaking news: Chadwick Boseman had passed away at the age of 43. A year riddled not only with COVID-19 deaths, but other young celebrity deaths such as Kobe Bryant, Nick Cordero and Naya Rivera, hearts weigh heavy among millions of fans.
Boseman was best known for his role as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, inspiring so many superhero fans around the world that could finally relate to the first blockbuster superhero movie with a Black lead. The “Wakanda forever” salute was seen all over social media; even people who hadn’t seen the movie were able to identify the symbol. Children had an action figure that looked like them. The film and its cast became an icon of the 2010s. After Boseman’s passing, though, these action figures were used to memorialize the fallen hero, children saluting Wakanda forever to their Black Panther toys across Tiktok and Instagram.
Besides Black Panther, Boseman was also known for his roles in “21 Bridges,” “Get On Up,” “42” and “Da Five Bloods.” His acting was powerful and emotive. He shared the stories of historical figures, shedding light on all that they had done to forge the modern era.
Like these historical characters he played, Boseman himself was an avid worker for change and joy. Following his death, many interviews came to light of all the times he visited cancer patients in children’s hospitals, while he himself was fighting the disease. If you ever get time to watch the interview of Boseman discussing the two child cancer patients he visited prior to the release of “Black Panther” and how they really realigned his thoughts of the movies he worked on as they explained how they were holding out for the release, I’d recommend it. It’ll bring you to tears.
In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer, but it had escalated to stage IV by the time he passed. The timing of his diagnosis was strange, Boseman being quite young for colon cancer to arise, which has since warned doctors as to how colon cancer has been appearing in patients younger and younger. Despite this diagnosis, though, the media had no idea what was happening. Boseman kept his diagnosis to himself and out of the eye of the public, continuing to film and create movies throughout his health problems. Prior to his death, Boseman was bullied relentlessly for his weight loss and thinning body, but that was the only hint anyone had to the fact that he had cancer. That was why Boseman’s death came as a shock to so many. Though his passing was a surprise to fans, I’m sure Boseman knew it was coming, and yet he continued to create and make people happy until the end.
Josh Gad shared on social media the last text that Boseman sent him; Boseman instructs Gad to “catch the rain” and remember the “wonders of the day.” The message is heartbreaking, but beautiful. It shows that, despite all that was going on in his life, Boseman still managed to stay positive around those he cared about.
The world certainly cared about him. The tweet his family posted announcing the news became the most-liked tweet in history. Pictures of him were on every single Instagram story on my feed. His fellow Marvel actors as well as other actors, directors and producers all wrote kind words and paid tribute to the remarkable actor. They shared stories of Boseman’s positivity and talent, how he was one of a kind. Many television programs have paid tribute to Boseman over the past week and the state of his birth, South Carolina, set their flags to half mast. Even the MTV Video Music Awards were dedicated to Boseman. The whole world mourned the passing of a legend.
Boseman was a remarkable actor, truly making his mark in the world of entertainment and proving all that he could do while also enlightening fans. In a lifetime cut short, he achieved so much, and will be remembered in our hearts forever. Catch the rain.