Celebrity tributes to Chadwick Boseman flood social media: ‘What a gentle gifted soul’

News of Chadwick Boseman’s death on Friday has rippled through Hollywood and beyond. The actor, who was 43, starred in the 2018 blockbuster film Black Panther, in which he played King T’Challa. In addition to his role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Boseman was known for portraying Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up.

Diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, Boseman continued to work as his disease progressed. In a public statement, his family explained that he filmed projects “during and between countless surgeries chemotherapy” and called Boseman a “true fighter.”

Boseman passed away at home with wife Taylor Simone Ledward by his side. The couple got engaged in October 2019, according to Page Six.

Boseman’s profound influence on the Hollywood industry was reflected in passionate social media tributes Saturday. On Facebook and Twitter, former president Barack Obama shared photos of him and Boseman. “Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson,” tweeted Obama. “You could tell right away that he was blessed. 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.”

Angela Bassett, who portrayed Boseman’s mother in Black Panther, shared a touching statement on Instagram, reflecting on the time they met in 2000 when Boseman, then a student at Howard University, served as her escort at his graduation ceremony where she was a commencement speaker. “It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family,” wrote Bassett.

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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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Bassett also shared a series of Instagram photos from the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Black Panther won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

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Oprah Winfrey also honored Boseman on Twitter, calling him a “gentle gifted soul.”

Actor Josh Gadshared one of his last text messages from Boseman, reflecting the actor’s deep appreciation for life:

Gwyneth Paltrow, who starred with Boseman in Avengers: Endgamecalled him “strong, intelligent, graceful, self-possessed.”

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I was lucky enough to spend some time with @chadwickboseman on the set of The Avengers. I was so struck by his presence. He was the embodiment of the modern man; strong, intelligent, graceful, self-possessed. I am deeply sad to hear of his passing this morning. What a beautiful legacy he created in such a short life.

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Zoe Saldana, Bosemen’s Avengers co-star, said he was “one of the classiest men I have ever met in my life.”

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Rest in Power King T’Challa. My heart is so heavy right now. Your passing has hit me hard. I will tell my sons about you forever. You were one of the classiest men I have ever met in my life. It was an honor to have shared minutes with you on screen and to have crossed paths with you during press. Though our acquaintance was light you always left a lasting impression because of your energy, poise and gentle manner. May the Universe deliver you to your promise land brother. ~ Que en paz y en poder logres descansar finalmente. Con lo poco que estuviste aquí, dejaste un legado increíble!!!

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Fellow Black Panther star Forest Whitaker honored Boseman by tweeting, “Your light brightened our days. It will continue to brighten our hearts and minds. Let the heavens be blessed as you illuminate the sky.”

Samuel L. Jackson thanked Boseman “for all you gave us,” and called the actor “a talented & giving artist & brother.”

And Ryan Reynoldsspoke of Boseman’s death as a “brutal loss.”

Selma Blair pointed out Boseman’s “spectacular range,” calling him “grace and beauty embodied.”

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The man with a spectacular range who brought history to life. #chadwickboseman will live on in the lives he strengthened and all those who adored him. The man. The actor. My heart goes out.To his family. His fans. His friends. What a man. Grace and beauty embodied.

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