On Monday (28 August), three years after the tragic passing of the Black Panther star in 2020, at age 43, from colon cancer, Nyong’o remembered “the love generated from the life he lived”.
“Three years ago today, I experienced a singular pain at the news of @chadwickboseman's death,” the Kenyan-Mexican actor, 40, wrote on Instagram. “The confusion was so profound that it took months to trust the feeling of joy again.”
Alongside a black and white photo of Boseman with his hand in the air, Nyong’o continued: “This is a photo I took on film at the airport as we arrived in South Korea in 2018. We had just learned to do the baby heart with our fingers. Here Chadwick was adding his suave flare. We spent a glorious 72 hours there, and the memory fills me with so much joy.”
The Us actor added that “death is hard to understand, maybe even harder to accept”. “But the love generated from the life he lived will fuel every anniversary marking his absence,” Nyongo’ said.
“Chadwick may no longer be in our photos, but he will always be in our hearts.”
Boseman had been diagnosed with cancer four years before his death but had chosen not to publicly disclose the information.
Following his death, his family and friends revealed that all of his Marvel roles were shot despite countless surgeries and chemotherapy.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account at the time, he was described as “a true fighter” who had “persevered through it all”.
The post appeared to show Boseman had quietly married his long-term girlfriend in the final months of his life.
Boseman rose to stardom playing real-life figures – baseball great Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013) and soul singer James Brown in Get on Up (2014).
But he’s best remembered for playing the first black superhero to lead his own film as King T’Challa in Black Panther, which was released in 2018.
The film’s 2022 sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, addressed Boseman’s death head-on in its opening scene.
In The Independent’s four-star review of the movie, Clarisse Loughrey said that “Boseman’s shadow looms large” over the sequel.
“Everything about this sequel feels subsumed under a great shadow of loss,” Loughrey wrote, adding: “Wakanda Forever isn’t necessarily a film about grief, but every frame is draped in tender sorrow. We first hear the whispered tones of Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s sister, as she vows to save her brother from an unspoken and sudden illness. Her inability to do so becomes her burden.
“Others in the film – his mother (Angela Bassett’s Ramonda), his love (Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia), and his most loyal soldier (Danai Gurira’s Okoye) – carry their own. Grief is multicoloured in Wakanda Forever, processed through spirituality, denial, and rage. But each iteration of it is laced with real pain.”