After news broke that Chadwick Boseman had passed away from colon cancer at the age of 43, the actor's "Black Panther" co-stars and the film's crew members quickly took to social media to honor their friend. As the tributes continue to pour in for the acclaimed actor, TODAY is rounding up a few of the most touching messages his friends have shared so far.
Angela Bassett played Boseman's mother in "Black Panther," but as the actor revealed in a new tribute, that wasn't the first time the two had met.
"During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something," she wrote on Instagram. "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!"
Bassett said her co-star's dedication was "awe-inspiring, his talent was "unreal" and his smile was "contagious." “It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family," she wrote.
Danai Gurira, who played Okoye in "Black Panther," called her co-star a "true class act" and "the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace." Gurira, who honored her friend in an Instagram post and Story, said the actor's death is a loss that will resonate around the globe.
"The children he inspired, my heart aches for them, to lose their hero just as they finally found him," she wrote. "I am so thankful to have taken the Black Panther journey with him. To have known him, spent time in his light and leadership and to call him forever a friend."
The Guyanese-British actor, who starred as Shuri in the film, expressed her reaction to her co-star's passing in four words that seemed to speak volumes: "this hurts. really hurts"
Sterling K. Brown
"This Is Us" star Sterling K. Brown had the opportunity to work with Boseman on two films — "Marshall" and "Black Panther" — and took to Twitter to thank the actor for his friendship. "I don’t have words," he wrote. "Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here. Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed."
“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler
In a statement shared with TODAY, "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler said he was inspired to work on the film after watching Boseman speak in a language he'd never heard before in a scene in "Captain America: Civil War."
"In my meeting after watching the film, I asked Nate Moore, one of the producers of the film, about the language," he said. "'Did you guys make it up?' Nate replied, 'That’s Xhosa, John Kani’s native language. He and Chad decided to do the scene like that on set, and we rolled with it.' I thought to myself: 'He just learned lines in another language, that day?' I couldn’t conceive how difficult that must have been, and even though I hadn’t met Chad, I was already in awe of his capacity as actor."
Coogler called Boseman "an anomaly" and said he was always "calm," "assured" and "constantly studying." The actor valued his privacy, and Coogler said he didn't know the details surrounding his illness.
"After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him," he said. "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."
"Chadwick was a lightning rod for me... he gave me direction," Winston Duke shared on Instagram and elaborated about how much he admired Boseman.
"When I saw '42', I said, I could be like THIS guy," he wrote. "I knew I belonged because I could see myself in you... that’s what heroes do... they seem familiar because they make it possible for us to see our potential best selves demonstrated through them."
Marvel Studios, the production company behind "Black Panther," posted a video reel featuring some of the star's iconic on-screen moments and interviews with crew members talking about their casting choice. The studio captioned the post: "You will always be our King."
Working with Boseman on "Black Panther" evidently left a real mark on Andy Serkis, who referred to his co-star as a "natural leader" and an "honorable, generous, humble human being." Serkis said his friend's art and life "will shine as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come" and ended his post with the hashtag #WakandaForever.
The comedian said Boseman was a hero both on and off the big screen and recalled how his co-star was dedicated to raising the profile of Black actors everywhere.
"Yes this was our king," Noah wrote. "Not because we served him or because he ruled. But because of how he served us in everything he did. ... From South Carolina to South Africa he made so many of us proud of who we are and for that he will always be our king."
The industry legend shared a black-and-white photo of Boseman on Instagram and paid tribute to his co-star with the following message: "Your light brightened our days. It will continue to brighten our hearts and minds. Let the heavens be blessed as you illuminate the sky. Sending my love and prayers to the family. May god continue to hold you in his everlasting embrace. RIP Chadwick."
Boseman's co-star Atandwa Kani, who played a younger T'Chaka in the popular film, shared a group photo with the actor and sent a message of hope to his friend, writing, "Rest Well My Brother. We Shall Continue The Fight... 💔 Rest in Power Chad.."