Winston Duke Recalls What Chadwick Boseman Told Him at Black Panther Audition in Touching Tribute

"Your heroism is now legend," Winston Duke wrote in a tribute to Chadwick Boseman. "We’ll carry the load and honor your legacy, the rest of the way! Bless King!"

By Elyse Dupre Aug 31, 2020 8:07 PMTags
Watch: Chadwick Boseman's Marvel Co-Stars Pay Tribute: "Rest in Power, King"

Winston Duke is honoring the late Chadwick Boseman.

The 33-year-old actor took to Instagram on Monday, Aug. 31 to share a touching tribute to the 43-year-old star.

"How do I start to honor a man who I saw as a giant in many ways; with whom I thought I had so much more time," Duke began. "I am absolutely devastated by the loss of my friend and hero, Chadwick Boseman..."

Duke, who acted alongside Boseman in Black Panther and in Avengers movies, explained he feels "sick" over Boseman's passing.

 "I'm in pain and I can't belive [sic] he's gone," he continued. "Chadwick was a lightning rod for me... he gave me direction..."

He then recalled watching Boseman's portrayal of Jackie Robinson in the 2013 movie 42 and saying, "I could be like THIS guy."

"I knew I belonged because I could see myself in you," Duke continued. "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.'"

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He also remembered meeting Boseman in-person for the first time at an audition for Black Panther and having Boseman acknowledge him and his dream by saying, "He's ready!"

"Man, your words that day made me feel like my dream was finally real!" Duke wrote. "Chadwick then proceeded to show us collectively every day on set what it was to be a leading man. Not only through his work but by how he welcomed and created a space for all of us to feel safe, open and bold ... You even worked with me 1 on 1, on our scenes, so that we could get it right, well before the day of the filming."

Near the end of the post, Duke expressed his gratitude for Boseman.

"Chadwick, Thank you!" he wrote. "Chadwick, you are the are me and I'm you and we are all one! Thanks for being someone I could look up to on and off screen ... our calm confidence was inspiring and exemplary. Thanks for sharing with me... you go ahead did your job and did it well! You will NEVER be forgotten. Your heroism is now legend. We'll carry the load and honor your legacy, the rest of the way! Bless King! #chadwickboseman #wakandaforever."


Boseman died Friday, Aug. 28 following a private battle with cancer. He was 43 years old. A statement posted to his official social media accounts revealed Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled it for four years as it progressed to stage IV.

"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much," the statement continued. "From Marshall to Da 5 BloodsAugust Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther."

The statement noted Boseman died at his home, "with his wife and family by his side."

"The family thanks you for your love and prayers," the statement read, "and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time."

After news of Boseman's death spread, several colleagues, friends and fans honored him on social media. Read tributes from more Black Panther cast members below.

Michael B. Jordan

"I've been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I've been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything," the actor expressed on Instagram. "I wish we had more time. One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked , and now the truth of that means more to me than ever."

"Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you've known it or not…I've been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness."

"I wish we had more time. Everything you've given the world … the legends and heroes that you've shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family , your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here."

"I wish we had more time. I'm more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I'm gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I'll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I'm dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets. "Is this your king!?" Yes . he . is!  Rest In Power Brother."

Danai Gurira

"How do you honor a king? Reeling from the loss of my colleague, my friend, my brother," the actress shared on Instagram. "Struggling for words. Nothing feels adequate. I always marveled at how special Chadwick was. Such a pure hearted, profoundly generous, regal, fun guy. My entire job as Okoye was to respect and protect a king. Honor his leadership. Chadwick made that job profoundly easy. He was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace. On many an occasion I would think how thankful I was that he was the leading man I was working closely with. A true class act. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation."

"He made everyone feel loved, heard and seen. He played great, iconic roles because he possessed inside of himself that connection to greatness to be able to so richly bring them to life. He had a heroic spirit, and marched to the beat of his own drum; hence his excellence as an artist and the incredible courage and determination as he faced life's challenges; while still guiding us all."

"He was zen and sweet and funny (with the very best laugh), attentive, and truly, truly, good. I can't even wrap my mind around this loss. A loss resonating in my own heart as well as around the globe. The children he inspired, my heart aches for them, to lose their hero just as they finally found him. I am so thankful to have taken the Black Panther journey with him. To have known him, spent time in his light and leadership and to call him forever a friend."

Ryan Coogler

The Black Panther director penned a moving letter in remembrance of Boseman. "He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was," Coogler wrote in part. "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."

Letitia Wright

"this hurts. really hurts," the actress shared on Twitter.

Sterling K. Brown

"I don't have words," the actor posted on Twitter. "Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here. Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed." 

Angela Bassett

"It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don't know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther," the actress began. "During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever!"

Angela continued, "We'd spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man's dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother...'thou aren't not dead but flown afar...' All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince. #WakandaForever"

Forest Whitaker

"Your light brightened our days," the actor shared on Twitter. "It will continue to brighten our hearts and minds. Let the heavens be blessed as you illuminate the sky. Sending my love and prayers to the family. May god continue to hold you in his everlasting embrace. RIP Chadwick." 


"Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with Chadwick Boseman's family," Marvel shared on Twitter. "Your legacy will live on forever. Rest In Peace."

A look back at his greatest roles can also be viewed here.

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