US actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing Black Panther in the hit Marvel superhero franchise, has died of cancer, his family say.
The 43-year-old died at home in Los Angeles with his family by his side.
Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis.
“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.”
Boseman first came to prominence playing real-life figures – baseball great Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42, and musician James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up.
However, it will be as the titular Black Panther in the blockbuster 2018 film he will be best remembered.
Boseman stars as the ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth.
As well as winning critical praise and taking more than $1.3 billion US dollars (£973m) at cinemas worldwide, the film was widely seen as a cultural milestone for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.
Boseman said last year that the film had changed what it means to be “young, gifted and black”.
Black Panther was the first superhero film to get a nomination for best picture at the Oscars.
He also played the same role in other Marvel films Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
The announcement will come as a shock to many as Boseman never discussed his 2016 diagnosis publicly.
However, fans started raising concerns over his health this year due to noticeable weight loss.
Tributes have already begun pouring in for the star, including from actor Mark Ruffalo and director Jordan Peele, who tweeted “This is a crushing blow”.
All I have to say is the tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound by the loss of #ChadwickBoseman. What a man, and what an immense talent. Brother, you were one of the all time greats and your greatness was only beginning. Lord love ya. Rest in power, King.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 29, 2020
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