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Chadwick Boseman posthumously receives 'Hero for the Ages' honor at MTV Awards

The late "Black Panther" star was honored by Marvel co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle for his "incredible power" and "humanity."
/ Source: TODAY

A pair of Marvel superheroes paid tribute to a real-life "hero for the ages" at Sunday night's MTV Movie & TV Awards: Greatest of All Time ceremony.

Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle posthumously presented the "Hero for the Ages" honor to their Marvel co-star, Chadwick Boseman, who died at 43 in August from colon cancer.

"The second you first saw him on screen or had the opportunity to meet him in person, his energy and intensity was undeniable," Downey Jr. said. "There was something different and special about Chadwick Boseman."

"Each time he stepped on the set, he inspired and influenced everyone there," Cheadle said. "And with every role, he created a new legion of fans. He had an incredible power to unify people and their love for his work and their respect for him as a person. The way he lived his life united people behind a higher purpose, and that will be his legacy."

While Boseman was best known for his starring role in the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," Cheadle noted he also portrayed several real-life legends like Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall on the big screen.

"He brought humanity and truth to the portrayal of people who felt larger than life, and he did it in a way that honored their memories," Cheadle said.

Downey Jr., who played Iron Man alongside Boseman's Black Panther in "The Avengers" films, also paid tribute to the type of person Boseman was off screen. Following his death, many stories about Boseman's acts of kindness were shared by fans and colleagues, like his former "21 Bridges" co-star Sienna Miller saying he helped cover part of her salary for the 2019 film.

"Mr. Boseman truly embodied what it meant to be a superhero," Downey Jr. said. "His impact as a groundbreaking leading man, as an icon on screen, it won't be quantified by the box-office records he broke, but by the legions of fans who will celebrate him for many years to come."

"And he wasn't just a hero on screen," he added. "His list of selfless and inspirational acts and deeds is too long to recount here — consistently showing up during trial and triumph for family, friends and fans alike, some of whom were battling the same invisible enemy. He was the most heroic when just being Chad. That's when he was bigger than anyone he played on screen."