Danai Gurira called her late co-star Chadwick Boseman the “epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace” in a moving tribute on Sunday, two days after the 43-year-old actor succumbed to a four-year battle with colon cancer.
“How do you honor a king?” the 42-year-old actress began on Instagram. “Reeling from the loss of my colleague, my friend, my brother. Struggling for words. Nothing feels adequate. I always marveled at how special Chadwick was. Such a pure hearted, profoundly generous, regal, fun guy.”
Gurira, who appeared in “Black Panther” and two “Avengers” films as Okoye, the right-hand woman to Boseman’s T’Challa, spoke about how her on-screen role “was to respect and protect a king” and said that “Chadwick made that job profoundly easy.”
“He was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace. On many an occasion I would think how thankful I was that he was the leading man I was working closely with. A true class act. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation,” Gurira continued. “He made everyone feel loved, heard and seen.”
On Friday, reps for Boseman confirmed the actor had died following a private four-year battle against cancer. He had been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, which later progressed to stage 4.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” Friday’s statement read. “From ‘Marshall’ to ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ and August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.”
As countless tributes to Boseman have poured in from Hollywood and politicians alike, Gurira is still coming to terms with his passing.
“He was zen and sweet and funny (with the very best laugh), attentive, and truly, truly, good. I can’t even wrap my mind around this loss. A loss resonating in my own heart as well as around the globe,” Gurira penned. “The children he inspired, my heart aches for them, to lose their hero just as they finally found him. I am so thankful to have taken the Black Panther journey with him.
“To have known him, spent time in his light and leadership and to call him forever a friend. Lala Ngoxolo Kumkani,” she concluded, with the final words translating to, “Sleep in peace, O king.”
Earlier in the day Sunday, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler posted an emotional message to Boseman, revealing he was unaware of the actor’s illness.
In the wake of Boseman’s death, Netflix has since delayed a preview of his upcoming film, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards also dedicated Sunday’s show to the late star.