Viola, who starred with the Black Panther actor in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, told Yahoo Entertainment that while she was unaware of Chadwick's private heath struggles, she was always so in awe of how he lived his life.
"I broke down when I heard he passed. Lord knows we all would've wanted him to live another 50 years," she shared. "We all want longevity. But I can't see his life tragically at all. Because I felt like he was always living in the moment, squeezing out every bit of life. What it makes me think is, it's not the quantity, it's the quality."
The actor, who became an icon when he took on the role of prince of Wakanda and superhero T'Challa in Black Panther in 2018, never publicly revealed that he was battling cancer. In addition to his time portraying the Marvel superhero, which he also did in the most recent Avengers movies, he starred in films like Da 5 Bloods, 42 and Marshall. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, an adaptation of an August Wilson play, was his final film.
Viola added, "I would say his professional life has absolutely paralleled his personal life, that's my guess, in terms of how he lived with the utmost integrity."
Though Chadwick did not disclose his health condition to the press, he did hint that he was dealing with extraordinary circumstances in his personal life in an interview with the Huffington Post's Matt Jacobs in 2017.
"You've been through the wringer," the reporter said after Chadwick confirmed that he had to slim down and then bulk back up again to do the film Marshall in between playing the role of Black Panther in the Marvel franchise.
"Oh, you don't even know," Chadwick replied. "You have no idea. One day I'll live to tell the story."