The world received startling news this week: Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer. 

Boseman reached international fame for his performance in the title role of Marvel’s Black Panther. The South Carolina native is also celebrated for his historic portrayals of the legendary Major League Baseball player Jackie Robinson in the 2013 sports biopic 42, the supercharged James Brown in the 2014 drama Get on Up, and the NAACP lawyer and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017 film Marshall

Boseman chose to keep his diagnosis and ongoing struggles a private matter. It’s safe to say that none of his fans would have suspected he was experiencing a medical crisis as they watched him on the silver screen appearing to be the epitome of good health and strength. However, behind the scenes, Boseman was undergoing several surgeries and enduring ongoing chemotherapy treatments all the while managing to work on several films.

A statement posted on Boseman’s Twitter feed read:

“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick 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 honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther.’ He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.”

Upon hearing the abrupt news of Boseman’s passing, many celebrities took to social media to express their shock and profound sadness. 

Viola Davis, co-star in Get on Up as well as the upcoming adaptation of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom wrote: “Chadwick … no words to express my devastation of losing you. Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity … It was an honor working beside you, getting to know you.”

Boseman’s Black Panther co-star Angela Bassett wrote, “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 … All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave.”

Walt Disney Co. chairman Bob Iger stated, “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 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.”

Marvel co-star Chris Evans wrote, “I’m absolutely devastated. This is beyond heartbreaking. Chadwick was special. A true original. He was deeply committed and constantly a curious artist. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I’m endlessly grateful for our friendship. Rest in power, King.”

And “This is a crushing blow,” tweeted director and actor Jordan Peele.

Chadwick Boseman is survived by his wife, singer Taylor Simone Ledward, as well as a parent. 

Boseman’s final film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be released posthumously on Netflix.

Rest in Peace, Chadwick Boseman.