Tributes pour in for Black Panther actor, Chadwick Boseman

Big names from the world of entertainment, sport and politics are paying tribute to American actor Chadwick Boseman, who has died aged 43.

The Black Panther star was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 but had never spoken about it publicly.

His family said he had filmed many of his recent movies while undergoing “countless surgeries”.

Among those celebrating his life was former US President Barack Obama, who said the actor was “blessed”.

“Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson,” Mr Obama tweeted, referring to the 2013 film 42.

“You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years.”

Racing driver Lewis Hamilton dedicated his pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix to the actor.

“He’s inspired a whole generation of young black men and women and provided them with a true superhero to look up to. Rest in power my friend,” he wrote on Twitter.

Boseman was born in South Carolina and began his acting career in television roles.

He rose to prominence playing real-life figures, such as baseball great Jackie Robinson and soul singer James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up. But it is his performance as superhero Black Panther for which he is best remembered.

In the 2018 blockbuster of the same name, Boseman stars as the ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on Earth.

It was a box office hit and earned Boseman critical acclaim, becoming the first superhero film to get a nomination for best picture at the Oscars.

Boseman also played the role in the Marvel films Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Fellow Marvel stars were among those paying tribute to him on Saturday.

Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, said the “tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound” by his death.

Tom Holland, who is currently playing Spiderman, called Boseman a role model for millions around the world, while Captain America star Chris Evans and Thor actor Chris Hemsworth said they were heartbroken by his death.

Black Panther was widely seen as a cultural milestone for having a largely black cast and a black director.

Boseman said last year that the film had changed what it means to be “young, gifted and black”.

The eldest son of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr praised Boseman for his range of roles, saying he “brought history to life” in his depictions of real black men and was “a superhero to many” as Black Panther.

Award-winning musician John Legend called Boseman “a bright light” who “always seemed to carry our ancestors with him”.

Ava DuVernay, who has directed a string of powerful films and documentaries including Selma, about the fight for civil rights in the 1960s, also paid tribute.

Others lauded the strength he showed in acting through his cancer treatment.

“Showing us all that greatness between surgeries and chemotherapy. This is what dignity looks like,” tweeted TV star and author Oprah Winfrey.

Actress Halle Berry described him as an “incredible man with immeasurable talent, who leaned into life regardless of his personal battles”.

Marvel Studios, which created Black Panther, said the actor’s legacy would “live on forever”.

The final tweet posted to Boseman’s Twitter account announcing that he had died is now the most ‘liked’ tweet of all time.