‘The ancestors spoke through Chadwick Boseman,’ says Black Panther director

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has hailed the film’s star Chadwick Boseman following his death from colon cancer.

“In African cultures, we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors,” he wrote, praising Boseman’s artistry by stating: “The ancestors spoke through him.”

Boseman died aged 43 at home in Los Angeles with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante said.

The actor had not revealed his cancer diagnosis to the public.

“Chad was an anomaly. He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying,” wrote Coogler, who revealed that Boseman learned his lines in the Xhosa language in a single day.

“The decision to have Xhosa be the official language of Wakanda was solidified by Chad, a native of South Carolina, because he was able to learn his lines in Xhosa, there on the spot.

“He also advocated for his character to speak with an African accent, so that he could present T’Challa to audiences as an African king, whose dialect had not been conquered by the West,” Coogler added.

More from Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther – the first major studio superhero movie featuring a predominantly African-American cast – became the ninth highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing film by a black director.

It was also the first superhero film to get an Oscar nomination for best picture.

Chadwick Boseman at the Oscars in 2019
Image: Boseman died aged 43 from colon cancer

Boseman’s breakthrough role came when he played baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film 42.

The following year he played another iconic black figure, starring as soul legend James Brown in Get On Up.

“It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skilfully portray some of our most notable [ancestors],” wrote Coogler.

“I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more.

“But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now.”

“And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again,” the director added.

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