Chadwick Boseman has died after a four-year long fight with colon cancer.

The actor was 43.

According to a statement posted to his Twitter account, Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and fought for four years as it progressed.

"A true fighter, Chadwicker persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much," the statement added.

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"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 honour of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther".

Boseman reportedly died at home, surrounded by his wife and family.

Chadwick Boseman attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Photo / Getty Images
Chadwick Boseman attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Photo / Getty Images

Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis. He is survived by his wife and a parent and had no children, Fioravante said.

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 Robinson opposite Harrison Ford in 2013's "42" drew attention in Hollywood.

Boseman died as Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day.

His T'Challa character was first introduced to the blockbuster Marvel movies in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, and his Wakanda Forever salute reverberated around the world after the release of Black Panther two years ago.

"This is a crushing blow" actor and director Jordan Peele said on Twitter, one of many expressing shock as the news spread across social media.

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"This broke me," said actor and writer Issa Rae.

Captain America actor Chris Evans called Boseman "a true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. He had so much amazing work still left to create."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tweeted that Boseman "inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even super heroes."

"I don't think the world was ready for a 'Black Panther' movie before this moment. Socially and politically, it wasn't ready for it," he told AP at the time.

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 US$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.

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Even at the outset of his Hollywood career, Boseman was clear-eyed about — and even skeptical of — the industry in which he would become an international star.

"You don't have the same exact experience as a Black actor as you do as a white actor. You don't have the same opportunities. That's evident and true," he told AP while promoting 42. "The best way to put it is: How often do you see a movie about a black hero who has a love story — with a black woman, or any woman for that matter ... he has a spirituality. He has an intellect. It's weird to say it, but it doesn't happen that often."

In addition to Robinson and Brown, Boseman portrayed US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017′s Marshall.

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.

Boseman completed one last performance, in an adaptation of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The Netflix film, which reunited Boseman with his Get On Up co-star, Viola Davis, finished shooting last summer.

It took some time for Boseman's moment to come. He first got into theatre, acting and writing plays as an undergrad at Howard. He visited Africa for the first time during college with director and theater professor Mike Malone, working in Ghana to preserve and celebrate rituals with performances on a proscenium stage. He later called the trip "one of the most significant learning experiences of my life."

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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 arrives at the red carpet of the Seoul premiere of 'Black Panther' on February 5, 2018. Photo / Getty Images
Boseman arrives at the red carpet of the Seoul premiere of 'Black Panther' on February 5, 2018. Photo / Getty Images

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.

At the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Award, Black Panther won best ensemble, electrifying the room. Before an auditorium full of actors, Chadwick Boseman stepped to the microphone. He quoted Nina Simone: "To be young, gifted and black," and put the moment in context.

Boseman is introduced in the 2020 NBA All-Star - Slam Dunk Contest in February this year. Photo / Getty Images
Boseman is introduced in the 2020 NBA All-Star - Slam Dunk Contest in February this year. Photo / Getty Images

"We know what it's like to be told there isn't a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. ... We know what's like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day," said Boseman. "We knew that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something to give."