Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of beloved film star Chadwick Boseman’s death from colon cancer at the age of 43. Boseman was known for his roles in the films 42, Marshall, Get On Up, Black Panther and Da 5 Bloods.
Months after he lost his secret, four-year battle with colon cancer and died at his Los Angeles home, he was honored with a Golden Globe for his heartbreaking performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. His widow, Simone, accepted the statuette on his behalf.
Last week, she paid tribute to her husband again on the 2021 Stand Up to Cancer fundraising telethon, according to USA Today. Black-ish actor Anthony Anderson introduced her as she took the stage to sing “I’ll Be Seeing You.” “Many of us were devastated to learn of Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing after he privately grappled with cancer for several years. The world lost an incredible artist and a true hero,” Anderson said. “But before he was a public figure, he was a person like you or me: a son, a brother, uncle, cousin, friend, colleague, husband. Many of us are all too familiar with the fracture a dearly loved one’s passing leaves in the lives of those who love them.”
Friends, fans and colleagues remembered him and his career achievements on social media this weekend. Among them were his Black Panther castmate, Lupita Nyong’o, and Frozen star Josh Gad. “I did not know that I could miss both his laughter and his silence in equal measure. I do. I do,” Nyong’o posted on Twitter, along with a photo of her and Boseman laughing together. “One year after his passing, the memory of @chadwickboseman remains this alive in me.” “Not a day goes by one year later, where it doesn’t still hurt. But in the darkness, he always reminds us of the light. He was an angel on this planet and is now a Saint on high. Love you and miss you more than ever… forever. #ChadwickBoseman,” Gad tweeted.
The Marvel Twitter page said simply, “Honoring our friend, our inspiration and our King, Chadwick Boseman.” Boseman’s final performance was a voice part in the Marvel animated series, What If…? for Disney+ “We didn’t know it would be his final performance, obviously,” Marvel Studios Kevin Feige recently told Variety at the premiere for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, according to ComicBook.com. “He came in numerous times, was so gung ho about it, was so excited about it,” Feige added. “He read the episode that airs 24 hours from now and then came back and said, ‘I really love this version of T’Challa.’ And we had a conversation after that with Ryan [Coogler] about, ‘How do we get some of this voice,’ none of the story line, but just some of that voice into Panther 2. Now, of course, it’s remarkably sad and bittersweet, but I’m very happy we have it and I’m very happy he did it for us. I’m excited for the fans to see that, as well.”
NBC News spoke with doctors who have said they hope Boseman’s death will inspire more Black people to get screenings for colorectal cancer, particularly since the American Cancer Society has said they are 20 percent more likely to get colon cancer — and 40 percent more likely to die from it — than any other race is. However, as of yet, there is no quantifiable data to track whether Black people have increased screenings.
“Most people, when they think of colon cancer, think of someone being old,” Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, an internal medicine physician in Alabama, told NBC. “You don’t think of someone who was in their early 40s, like Chadwick, definitely not someone who looked as healthy as he did. So, I think it really helps people to wake up to just how easy it is for this particular cancer to be active and do harm in your body without you being aware of it.”