Shocking Black Celebrity Deaths

Gone Too Soon: A Look At The Black Stars Lost Young

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Chadwick Boseman – Cause of Death: Cancer

Howard University holds its' commencement ceremonies with famous alum Chadwick Boseman as guest speaker in Washington, DC.

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

When the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death was released, the Black community’s heart broke. A man who personified Black strength, Boseman’s portrayal of the Wakanda King T’Challa in Black Panther directly contradicted the images politicians and the press have traditionally portrayed of the Black man. Boseman shot Black Panther one year after being diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.

Boseman continued working up to his death, hiding that he was suffering from the disease. A late start in Hollywood, he was 35 when he received his first starring role as Jackie Robinson in 42. He would go on to portray Thurgood Marshall and James Brown, among other notable Black figures. However, his role in 2020’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom had many wondering what could have been. Boseman’s stage 3 diagnosis suggests he was living with cancer undiagnosed for several years.

An HCBU graduate, Boseman had always been aware of what being a Black man means in today’s world. A role model for the whole of his professional life, Boseman was an outspoken supporter of the Boys and Girls Club, St. Jude’s Hospital, and STEM advocacy. He donated $4.2 million in COVID-19 personal protective equipment to Black communities and encouraged Disney to donate over $400 million to charity.

Boseman was the first Black man to lead a Marvel Cinematic University movie, and he was an NAACP Image Award winner.

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