Boseman, who starred as Jackie Robinson, dies

LOS ANGELES — Actor Chadwick Boseman, who starred as Black icon Jackie Robinson in “42” before rising to fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, died Friday of cancer, his representative said.

He was 43.

His death came as Major League Baseball observed Jackie Robinson Day, with teams celebrating the man who broke the sport’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Jackie Robinson Day is usually on April 15, but the celebration was moved to Aug. 28 this season to accommodate the COVID-19-altered schedule, which started in late July.

Major League Baseball issued a statement following his death.

After “42” came out in 2013, Boseman appeared in “Draft Day” the following year, playing the role of an NFL prospect whom the general manager of the Cleveland Bowns (played by Kevin Costner) was considering drafting.

In February, Boseman was a judge during the much-discussed dunk contest as part of NBA All-Star Weekend.

Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante said. He was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, his family said in a statement.

“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 had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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