Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has died aged 43 after a four-year fight with colon cancer.
He died at home in Los Angeles with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante said.
Boseman played black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown early in his career before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe.
His T’Challa character was introduced to the Marvel movies in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and his Wakanda Forever salute became famous after the release of Black Panther two years ago.
Black Panther – the first major studio superhero movie featuring a predominantly African-American cast – became the ninth highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing film by a black director.
It was also the first superhero film to get an Oscar nomination for best picture.A message on his official Twitter account 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 four 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 honour of his career to bring King TChalla to life in Black Panther.”
“This is a crushing blow” actor and director Jordan Peele said on Twitter, while actor and writer Issa Rae said: “This broke me”.
He always remained sceptical of Hollywood and the industry that made him famous, once saying: “You don’t have the same exact experience as a black actor as you do as a white actor. You don’t have the same opportunities. That’s evident and true.
“The best way to put it is: How often do you see a movie about a black hero who has a love story – with a black woman, or any woman for that matter … he has a spirituality. He has an intellect. It’s weird to say it, but it doesn’t happen that often.”
Boseman was born in South Carolina and graduated from Howard University in 2000.
He originally wanted to be a writer and director and appeared in a number of TV roles while continuing to write plays.
His breakthrough role came when he played baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film 42. The following year he played another iconic black figure, starring as soul legend James Brown in Get On Up.
But it was his role in the smash hit Black Panther in 2018 that propelled him into the consciousness of millions of film fans across the world.
His character’s famous salute inspired many to feel an added sense of pride in their African heritage.
Boseman repriced his role in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, and a sequel to Black Panther was scheduled for release in 2022.