Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther co-star Winston Duke is the latest to pay tribute following the actor’s death aged 43.
A stunned Hollywood has been mourning Boseman since his death was announced on Friday, with his family revealing he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016.
Boseman was best known for playing T’Challa in Black Panther, Marvel’s influential superhero blockbuster.
Duke starred in the film as Boseman’s on-screen rival M’Baku and penned a lengthy tribute on Instagram, saying he was “absolutely devastated” by the loss of “my friend and hero”.
Duke, 33, described Boseman as a “lightning rod for me”, adding that his performance as baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson in 42 inspired him to have the confidence to be an actor.
He wrote: “I knew I belonged because I could see myself in you… that’s what heroes do… they seem familiar because they make it possible for us to see our potential best selves demonstrated through them.
“Through seeing Chad’s work, I was able to say, ‘I could be just like you one day’ and when I saw you in person for the first time… at my audition for Black Panther, you acknowledged me and my dream by saying, ‘he’s ready’! Man, your words that day made me feel like my dream was finally real!”
Duke revealed Boseman worked with him one-on-one while rehearsing scenes and created a “space for all of us to feel safe, open and bold”.
Duke added: “Thank you! Chadwick, you are the best…you are me and I’m you and we are all one! Thanks for being someone I could look up to on and off screen … your calm confidence was inspiring and exemplary.
“Thanks for sharing with me… you go ahead …you did your job and did it well! You will NEVER be forgotten. Your heroism is now legend. We’ll carry the load and honour your legacy, the rest of the way! Bless King!”
Harrison Ford also paid tribute to Boseman. “Chadwick Boseman was as compelling, powerful and truthful as the characters he chose to play,” the revered Hollywood star said.
“His intelligence, personal dignity and deep commitment inspired his colleagues and elevated the stories he told. He is as much a hero as any he played. He is loved and will be deeply missed.”
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler wrote a lengthy tribute and said: “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. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.”