Many are shocked by the fact that apparently only a select few even knew that Chadwick had been ill. He kept the information private and was surrounded by his family during his last moments. The world mourns a talent gone too soon, and one that had left indelible marks upon the roles he played and the world he played them in.
It’s been a few years since the megahit Marvel’s Black Panther was released into theaters to wide acclaim. The movie heralded a shift in opinion on how “Black” movies are considered to be losses out of the gate. The film, in addition to becoming a financial success, was a pop culture smash. It became the first comic book film to be nominated for Best Picture and make over $1 billion dollars at the box office. Further, it established Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular character, as a household star.
Even in death, Chadwick is still breaking records. His outsized legacy and impact through the characters that he played on screen will live on forever and even in death, people are acknowledging the void that his death will leave. Twitter posted that his account’s last tweet, announcing his death on his own terms, is now the most liked tweet ever.
The tweet has over 7 million likes as of this date and still rising.
It’s hard to grapple with the fact that Chadwick Boseman is gone yet will always be with us as an ancestor – precisely the type of actions his Black Panther role showed him doing. Now that his presence is so openly missed, thoughts have started to wonder towards who knew what Chadwick was going through and if he had the help and love that he needed, since he decided to keep his diagnosis private.
The Hollywood Reporter has detailed some of the discussions that had been happening around Chadwick’s health. According to the magazine’s sources, “only a handful of non-family members knew that Boseman was sick, including producing partner Logan Coles, longtime agent Michael Greene, trainer Addison Henderson and 42 director Brian Helgeland — with varying degrees of knowledge about the severity of the actor’s condition.”
The article also details how even up to the last week, Boseman himself thought that he’d be able to put the weight back on and resume work, convinced that he could beat the cancer diagnosis. The film was set to start pre-production in September, and he intended to be ready.
We’re now learning from Chadwick’s longtime agent that one of Chadwick’s main reasons for keeping his illness close to the vest, outside of being a private person anyway, was his mother.
“[She] always taught him not to have people fuss over him,” Greene told The Hollywood Reporter about Boseman’s mother, Carolyn. “He also felt in this business that people trip out about things, and he was a very, very private person.”
His trainer Addison Henderson was one of the few who’d seen Boseman struggle through role after role, training him for rigorous movies despite his cancer, and he shared that Boseman wasn’t going to let the disease stop him now that he had finally made it.
“Some people wait a lifetime to get the opportunity that he had,” he added, “and Chad had so much wisdom, so much knowledge, so much inside of him that he wasn’t going to let this disease stop him from telling these amazing stories and showing his art in the prime of his life.”
Boseman’s presence, sacrifice and legacy will be missed by many.