The heartbreaking death of Chadwick Boseman

The world said goodbye to another star tonight with the loss of Chadwick Boseman, best known for his role as the Black Panther, who passed after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Boseman's passing was announced on his Twitter account, in a simple notice that read: "It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV."

It continues: "A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. 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 chemotherapies. It was the honor of his career to bring King T'challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time."

Boseman had never talked about his condition.

Celebrities and fans are stunned by the announcement of Chadwick Boseman's death

Shocked tributes and messages of sympathy flooded the Twitter post in the minutes after the announcement was made, and tweets were trending with the hashtag #RIPBlackPanther, a reference to his breakout role. Fellow actor Jordan Peele simply tweeted: "This is a crushing blow" along with Boseman's image. Others touched on Boseman's contribution to Black pop culture, tweeting, "You were a true King brother. Your legacy will live on with all the people you have touched and all the kids that looked up to you as Black Panther." Heartbreaking news What a talent. RIP" Another fan tweeted what we're all thinking amid the continual tragedies this year: "Rip Chadwick Boseman Throw 2020 Away."

A touching tribute came from former basketball star and Inside The NBA commentator Kenny Smith, who went on Instagram to post a photo of Boseman alongside the late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant with the caption, "When I asked you to pose and I shot this picture to recreate an iconic picture of @kobebryant little did I know the significance it would have ! I told you that you embodied the super hero in him ! @chadwickboseman you will be missed! Tell Kobe we miss him too."