On Friday evening, Chadwick Boseman’s official account announced that the 43-year-old actor had died of colon cancer. The news was devastating—Boseman had been diagnosed in 2016, which means his prolific filming career of the past four years was set against the backdrop of chemotherapy and surgeries. It is astounding to imagine what he went through while acting and promoting his films.
With the new understanding of his struggles, many moments from Boseman’s life have been cast in a new light. A clip of him talking on a press tour for Black Panther on SiriusXM in 2018 shows him breaking down while discussing how he had been exchanging letters with two boys who had terminal cancer.
“Their parents said, ‘They’re trying to hold on till this movie comes,'” he says.
“To a certain degree, you hear them say that and you’re like, ‘Wow. I gotta get up and go to the gym. I gotta get up and go to work. I gotta learn these lines. I gotta work on this accent,” he continued.
“It’s a humbling experience, because you’re like, ‘This can’t mean that much to them,'” he continued. “You know? But seeing how the world has taken this on; seeing how the movement and how it’s taken on a life of its own, I realize that they anticipated something great.”
“I think back now to a kid, and just you know, waiting for Christmas to come, waiting for my birthday to come, waiting for a toy that I was going to get a chance to experience, or a video game. I did live life waiting for those moments. And so, it put me back in the mind of being a kid just to experience those two little boys anticipation of this movie. And when I found out that they…”
Boseman stops, becoming emotional as he thinks of learning the boys had died. He gathers himself and finishes by saying, “Yeah, it means a lot.”
Knowing that Boseman was aware of his own cancer diagnosis and the struggles of fighting the condition, he must have felt even more deeply for the two boys whose lives ended too soon, aware of what they went through. Now that we all know, this story is even more poignant and painful.