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Chadwick Boseman kept cancer fight private after learning 'not to have people fuss over him'

The "Black Panther" star, who died at age 43, "also felt in this business that people trip out about things, and he was a very, very private person," his longtime agent said.
Image: Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman attends the world premiere of Marvel Studios "Black Panther," in Hollywood, on Jan. 29, 2018.Valerie Macon / AFP - Getty Images

Actor Chadwick Boseman, who died last Friday following a private four-year battle with colon cancer, was partly inspired by his mother to keep his diagnosis quiet, his longtime agent said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

The actor's mother, Carolyn Boseman, "always taught him not to have people fuss over him," the agent, Michael Greene, said. "He also felt in this business that people trip out about things, and he was a very, very private person."

Only a small group of people knew about the actor's health struggles, including Greene; Boseman's producing partner, Logan Coles; his trainer, Addison Henderson; and his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Henderson told the outlet that Boseman, whom he trained for "Captain America: Civil War" and "Black Panther," reminded him of his father, who is a four-time cancer survivor.

"I used to tell Chad, 'Man, you remind me of my dad.' You guys are fighters, and you never stop moving forward,' " Henderson said. "For us, it was just like, 'Let’s keep going, let’s keep doing what you want to do, let’s keep training.' And then, me and Logan and his family, his wife, we were always just here to support him."

Henderson said Boseman, who died at age 43, made the most of each day despite his health problems.

Greene told the Reporter that there were days on set when Boseman struggled with the disease, recalling a time when the actor was "really in hard-core pain" while filming the upcoming Netflix movie, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" with co-star Denzel Washington.

Boseman pushed through because he "felt that being able to be with Denzel and to launch this cycle of [playwright] August Wilson at Netflix was so exciting to him," Greene said.

"He was just living his artistic life to the fullest and using his time and his moment to really affect people," Henderson said.

"Some people wait a lifetime to get the opportunity that he had," he said, "and Chad had so much wisdom, so much knowledge, so much inside of him that he wasn’t going to let this disease stop him from telling these amazing stories and showing his art in the prime of his life."