His career was more than just starring roles, it was cementing the importance of black lives in history. He portrayed real-life heroes, superheroes, and his legacy will echo forever. Losing Chadwick Boseman this last weekend rocked Hollywood. 

The actor passed away Friday at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, and family by his side. He was 43. Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer 4 years ago, his family revealed in a statement. He had never spoken publicly about his diagnosis. 

No one in Hollywood knew, even Ryan Coogler, who directed Boseman as the iconic Black Panther

He penned a stunning tribute to the actor which is written so beautifully we wanted to share pieces with you here. 

Coogler helped expand our understanding of just how big of a heart Boseman had, saying, “Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. 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.”

"...the ancestors spoke through him..."

When it came to work and stressful situations, Boseman was able to keep even Coogler calm on set. 

“I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly. He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying," Coogler writes. "But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that seen much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.”

Coogler ends the tribute with this tear-inducing paragraph, "In African cultures we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was because from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him. It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again."

You can read the entire letter on The Hollywood Reporter's website

What touched you most about Chadwick Boseman's life and career? Let us know down in the comments.