The director of “Black Panther” reveals in an emotional tribute to late star Chadwick Boseman how even the filmmaker didn’t know about the actor’s terminal cancer till after his death Friday.
Ryan Coogler, who also co-wrote the hit Marvel movie, described meeting Boseman in 2016 during a press push for another flick and said he was floored by the star’s death from colon cancer at age 43.
“Chad deeply valued his privacy, and I wasn’t privy to the details of his illness,’’ Coogler wrote in a lengthy statement to Entertainment Weekly on Sunday.
“After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him,’’ Coogler said, referring to the shocking news of Boseman’s death.
“Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering,’’ the director said of Boseman.
“I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before.
“It hurts more to know that we can’t have another conversation, or facetime, or text message exchange. He would send vegetarian recipes and eating regimens for my family and me to follow during the pandemic. He would check in on me and my loved ones, even as he dealt with the scourge of cancer.
“He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.”
Boseman was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016, secretly battling his illness till he finally succumbed to it last week, stunning the world.