Boseman’s cause of death was colon cancer, which he battled in secret over the past four years. The actor, who took on numerous iconic roles including Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up, and Thurgood Mashall in Marshall, died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side. His family released the following statement after his untimely death:
A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. 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.
The statement continued, “The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Colon Cancer Typically Affects Older Adults, but African-Americans Are at Higher Risk for the Disease
According to the Mayo Clinic, while colon cancer typically affects older adults, it can happen at any age. “It usually begins as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps that form on the inside of the colon. Over time some of these polyps can become colon cancers.
“Doctors generally recommend that people with an average risk of colon cancer begin screening around age 50. But people with an increased risk, such as those with a family history of colon cancer or African-American heritage, should consider screening sooner.”
Even if someone shows no symptoms of colon cancer, which includes unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding, unusual bowel movements, abdominal discomfort, fatigue and/or constipation, doctors typically encourage patients to get a colonoscopy after a certain age. During this procedure, a scope is used to examine the inside of your colon. The earlier signs of colon cancer or noncancerous polyps are discovered, the greater chance of a patient’s survival.
According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the number of patients being diagnosed with colon cancer is expected to increase by 90% by 2030. While more than one-third of patients under 35 diagnosed with colorectal cancer are hereditary, rectal cancer cases are expected to increase by 124% in people aged 35 and younger.
Fans Were Concerned for Boseman’s Health After He Showed Significant Weight Loss in April
Fans expressed concern for Boseman back in April after he posted a video on his Instagram page in which he looked dramatically thinner than usual.
During the video, Boseman discusses Operation 42, an initiative that aims to help hospitals that serve Black communities amid coronavirus. Boseman captioned the post:
I am hearing stories of desperation from people all over the country, and we know our communities are suffering the most and urgently need help. Celebrating #JackieRobinsonDay with the launch of Thomas Tull’s #Operation42, a donation of $4.2 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals that service the African American Communities who have been hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you, Jackie, for refusing to accept the world as it is, for showing us that we can make a difference.
While his 7.4 million followers on Instagram commended his initiative, fans couldn’t help but comment to ask, “Are you okay?” or to inquire if maybe he dropped the weight for a new role. Boseman never talked publicly about his health or cancer diagnosis.
Marvel Studios, Chris Evans, Jordan Peele, Don Cheadle & More Shared Tributes to Boseman Following His Death
Boseman, who earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and went on to attend the British American Drama Academy Academy in Oxford, England, left a lasting impact on the world through his craft. The news of Boseman’s death on August 28 came as shock to many, and social media filled with moving tributes to the Marvel superhero.
Actor Don Cheadle shared on Twitter, “I will miss you, birthday brother. You were always light and love to me. My god… forever and ever. Director Nia DaCosta tweeted, “I’ll miss waiting to see what he does next. Rest in power.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted, “Hard to hear about this. Rest in love, brother. Thank you for shining your light and sharing your talent with the world. My love and strength to your family.”