Millions of people are in mourning over Chadwick Boseman‘s death. The talented actor died on Friday, August 28, after a private four-year battle with colon cancer. Former President Barack Obama, 59, was one of the many known names who wrote touching tributes about the beloved star. “Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson,” he penned next to two photos of them at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue while adding, “You could tell right away that he was blessed.”
Barack then referenced the classic and poignant Nina Simone song “To Be Young, Gifted & Black” while talking about Chadwick. “To be young, gifted, and black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain — what a use of his years.” The late actor referenced lyrics to her track while accepting an award for Black Panther at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Michelle Obama, 56, also took to social media to remember the actor. “I’ll always remember watching Chadwick in 42. Barack and I were alone in the White House, on a weekend night with the girls away. I was so profoundly moved by the rawness and emotion in the barrier-breaking story,” she wrote, remembering the Jackie Robinson biopic. “And not long after, when he came to meet with young people in the State Dining Room, I saw that Chadwick’s brilliance on screen was matched by a warmth and sincerity in person,” the former First Lady added.
“There’s a reason he could play Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and King T’Challa with such captivating depth and honesty. He, too, knew what it meant to truly persevere. He, too, knew that real strength starts inside. And he, too, belongs right there with them as a hero—for Black kids and for all of our kids. There’s no better gift with which to grace our world,” she concluded, adding a heart emoji.
Chadwick’s passing has struck a chord with many who enjoyed so much about the South Carolina native, both on and off camera. Denzel Washington, 65, who helped him out in a big way during the early years of his career, told HollywoodLife the following in a statement from his publicist. “He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman.”
He was often quite private about his personal life including his relationship with wife Taylor Simone Ledward. The timeline of their coupling is unknown although they were first spotted out together in 2015. Their last red carpet appearance was in Nov. 2019 at the premiere of Chadwick’s film 21 Bridges in New York City.
He did, however, mention her when he won the 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in Black Panther. “Simone, you’re with me every day,” he said. “I have to acknowledge you right now. Love you.” The camera panned to her and she blew him a kiss and mouthed “I love you.”