“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther,” Bassett said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. 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! We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience.”
Boseman, who outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe starred in the films like Da 5 Bloods, Marshall, 42 and Get On Up, died Friday following a four-year battle with colon cancer; many of Boseman’s recent roles were filmed while the actor discreetly underwent surgeries and chemotherapy. “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 a statement. “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.”
Bassett added in her tribute to Boseman, “This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…’thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…’ All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince. #WakandaForever.”
Following news of Boseman’s death, many of the actor’s Marvel cast mates paid tribute, along with former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris; Boseman’s last tweet was in celebration of Harris’ selection as Biden’s vice president.
Harris tweeted Friday, “Heartbroken. My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned, and humble. He left too early but his life made a difference. Sending my sincere condolences to his family.”
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said in a statement to Rolling Stone, “Chadwick’s passing is absolutely devastating. He was our T’Challa, our Black Panther, and our dear friend. Each time he stepped on set, he radiated charisma and joy, and each time he appeared on screen, he created something truly indelible. He embodied a lot of amazing people in his work, and nobody was better at bringing great men to life. He was as smart and kind and powerful and strong as any person he portrayed. Now he takes his place alongside them as an icon for the ages. The Marvel Studios family deeply mourns his loss, and we are grieving tonight with his family.”