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Robert Downey Jr. praises Chadwick Boseman, calls 'Black Panther' Marvel's "crowning achievement"

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Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) — Tributes continue to roll in for Chadwick Boseman, who died on Friday at 43 years old after a private battle with colon cancer.

In a video interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts on ABC’s special Chadwick Boseman — A Tribute for a King, which aired Sunday night, Boseman’s Marvel Cinematic Universe co-star Robert Downey Jr. recalled Boseman was “always, always humble, always hardworking and always a smile on his face.”

Acknowledging that Boseman was working hard on-camera even as he was fighting cancer, which few knew at the time, Downey declared, “Now looking back, all the more I’ve realized just what an great, incredibly graceful human being he was.”

Downey also called Black Panther “hands down” Marvel Studios’ “crowning achievement.”

“It was the one where people got to vote with their ticket sales and say we require this overdue diversity,” Downey said, adding, “There is a void now.”

Others who paid tribute to Boseman during the ABC special were his Black Panther co-star Forest Whitaker, and Boseman’s former Howard University teacher, Phylicia Rashad.

“Whitaker said in part, “Chadwick was aspirational. For so many people he represented a great deal of hope…It was really an honor to do [Black Panther].”

Phylicia Rashad recalled getting a call from Boseman, who informed her he’d been accepted to the British Academy of the Arts’ mid-summer program, but couldn’t afford to attend.

Instead, Rashad called a secret benefactor: Denzel Washington. She told Boseman, “Pack your bags and be ready. You’re going.'” She said of a phone call with Washington, “We talked about it for maybe five minutes or less, and he said, “Ok, I’ve got this money,” she said with a laugh. “So he sent him!”

By Stephen Iervolino
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