- Boseman, 43, was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016
- But the actor never publicly discussed his condition and continued to work on major Hollywood films
- He died on Friday, at home with his family and wife, aged 43
- Many of Boseman's films, including Black Panther, Marshall, Da 5 Bloods were filmed 'during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy'
Chadwick Boseman was famous for playing the titular role of Black Panther in the Marvel franchise - but while he was fighting villains on screen, he was fighting a very real battle in his personal life.
Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. But the actor never publicly discussed his condition and continued to work on major Hollywood films during his battle with the deadly disease.
He died on Friday, at home with his family and wife, aged 43.
'It was the honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in 'Black Panther,'' they said.
'A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all,' the statement added.
The family revealed many of Boseman's films, including Black Panther, Marshall, Da 5 Bloods, and August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, were filmed 'during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.'
Boseman had not spoken about his diagnosis, but had sparked concerns over health earlier this year after fans took note of his unusually thin appearance.
He became the first black superhero to get his own standalone film in the record-breaking Marvel franchise with 2018's 'Black Panther.'
Boseman first appeared as the character in 2016's Captain America: Civil War when he joined Marvel and signed up to become part of the Marvel Universe franchise.
Sadly, not long after appearing in the film, he received his devastating diagnosis.
But that did not stop the star from appearing in multiple movies - despite film sets' notoriously long shooting days and tough working schedules.
For his biggest role, Black Panther, the star trained rigorously to get in shape and learned Angolan capoeira, Dambe boxing, Zulu stick fighting, karate, kung-fu and jiu-jitsu for the role and its many fight scenes.
In March 2017, while shooting the movie, his costar Andy Serkis described the gruelling big chase sequence, filmed in Busan, South Korea.
More than 700 crew members and 150 vehicles were gathered to film Boseman's T'Challa pursue Serkis' evil arms dealer Ulysses Klaue, who he brings down with a knee to the chest.
'It was a night shoot and the very, very first take he kneed me so hard in the chest, 'cause he couldn't really see with his mask on,' Serkis recalled. 'I felt like he had broken my ribs in that very first take.'
They shot the scene at least 30 times, according to Serkis, who said Boseman - who was still battling cancer at the time - gave incredible energy and performance each time.
When he wasn't filming, the star also paid a visit to children's hospital St Jude's to visit children suffering from cancer - something he was sadly all too familiar with at the time.
Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013. His striking portrayal of the stoic baseball star Jackie Robinson opposite Harrison Ford in 2013´s '42' drew attention in Hollywood and made him a star. He also starred in James Brown in 2014's Get On Up the following year.
Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day. 'His transcendent performance in `42´ will stand the test of time and serve as a powerful vehicle to tell Jackie´s story to audiences for generations to come,' the league wrote in a tweet.
He first played Black Panther in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, before the character headlined a hugely successful blockbuster in 2018.
The film´s vision of Afrofuturism and the technologically advanced civilization of Wakanda resonated with audiences, some of whom wore African attire to showings and helped propel 'Black Panther' to more than $1.3 billion in global box office. It is the only Marvel Studios film to receive a best picture Oscar nomination.
The character was last seen standing silently dressed in a black suit at Tony Stark´s funeral in last year´s 'Avengers: Endgame.' A 'Black Panther' sequel had been announced, and was one of the studio's most anticipated upcoming films.
In addition to Robinson and Brown, Boseman portrayed the future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017´s 'Marshall.' He humanized the larger-than-life historical figures with the same quiet dignity - interrupted by flashes of sparkling wit - that he would later bring to T'Challa.
He took on his first producing job in last year´s action thriller '21 Bridges,' in which he also starred, and was last seen on-screen in Spike Lee´s film 'Da 5 Bloods' as the leader of a group of Black soldiers in the Vietnam War.
It took some time for Boseman´s moment to come. He first got into theater, acting and writing plays as an undergrad at Howard. Boseman had roles on TV shows like ABC Family´s 'Lincoln Heights' and NBC´s 'Persons Unknown,' but before '42' he had only acted in one film, 2008´s football drama 'The Express.' Boseman attracted notice, but missed out on big parts.
'2011 was a rough year,' he said. 'I was up for everything that was happening that year, really good roles. I would get down to the end and then it would go to someone else.'
Boseman completed one last performance, in an adaptation of August Wilson´s 'Ma Rainey´s Black Bottom.' The Netflix film, in which Boseman stars alongside Viola Davis, finished shooting last summer.
Asked about his own childhood heroes and icons, Boseman cited Black political leaders and musicians: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Marley, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest and Prince. Deeply private and often guarded in his public appearances and interviews, he made clear that he understood the significance of his work and its impact on the broader culture.
Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante said.
Following the shock news of his death, tributes to Boseman poured in from across the entertainment industry.
He is survived by his wife and a parent and had no children, Fioravante said.