The world is still processing the loss of Chadwick Boseman, but it’s clear that those who worked closely with that actor and had the privilege to call him a friend needed time to find the words to say goodbye.
No one in the world imagined that we would be talking about 43-year-old Chadwick Boseman in the past tense, but that’s 2020 for you. When his family used his social media accounts to inform the world of his passing, the globe was thrown for a loop. We were all shocked to learn our King T’Challa, who was battling stage III colon cancer, undergone multiple surgeries and numerous rounds of chemotherapy while bringing our heroes to life and still working on movies.
On Sunday (Aug.30), following his passing, both Black Panther’s director Ryan Coogler and his Boseman’s co-star in the record-breaking film, Danai Gurira, dropped touching tributes to the late actor.
In his touching tribute to Boseman released through The Hollywood Reporter, Coogler described taking the job to direct Black Panther and how his relationship with the actor quickly went from just being professional to a friendship. He described Boseman as an “epic firework display,” stating he is an “ancestor now.”
“I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly. He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that seen much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.
Coogler revealed just like the rest of the world, he learned about Boseman’s battle with stage IV colon cancer Friday night (Aug.28).
“After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity, and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.”
Coogler closed out his statement by pointing out that he has “grieved a loss this acute before.”
“I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us until we meet again.”
Danai Gurira, who plays his right-hand Okoye in Black Panther and leader of the powerful army of women, the Dora Milaje tasked with protecting the King and his family, opened up about Boseman’s passing. On Twitter, the actress began her tribute by asking, “How do you honor a king?” following that up with “Reeling from the loss of my colleague, my friend, my brother. Struggling for words. Nothing feels adequate.”
“I always marveled at how special Chadwick was. Such a pure-hearted, profoundly generous, regal, fun guy. My entire job as Okoye was to respect and protect a king. Honor his leadership. Chadwick made that job profoundly easy. He was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence, and grace. On many an occasion, I would think of how thankful I was that he was the leading man I was working closely with. A true class act. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation.”
Boseman’s death was definitely a gut punch to us all. May he rest in power forever.
Photo: Vivien Killilea / Getty