Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman dies after 4-year fight with colon cancer

Actor Chadwick Boseman has died after a 4-year battle with colon cancer, a representative tells AP.

The 'Black Panther' actor was 43-years-old. He died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante told The Associated Press.

Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. Over the years 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,” his family said in the statement. “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 honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

Wakanda is the fictional home superhero Black Panther or T'Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, in the Marvel movie "Black Panther." (Photo credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel Studios tweeted the following message “Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman’s family. Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace.”

Boseman played Black icons like Jackie Robinson in the film "42" and James Brown in "Get on Up" before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe.

His T’Challa character was first introduced to the blockbuster Marvel movies in 2016′s “Captain America: Civil War,” and his “Wakanda Forever” salute reverberated around the world after the release of “Black Panther” two years ago.

Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day.

“This is a crushing blow” actor and director Jordan Peele said on Twitter, one of many expressing shock as the news spread across social media.

“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,” he told AP while promoting “42.” “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.”

In addition to Robinson and Brown, Boseman portrayed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017′s “Marshall.“

Even at the outset of his Hollywood career, Boseman was clear-eyed about — and even skeptical of — the industry in which he would become an international star.

He took on his first producing job in last year’s action thriller “21 Bridges,” in which he also starred, and was last seen on-screen in Spike Lee’s film “Da 5 Bloods” as the leader of a group of Black soldiers in the Vietnam War.