“We are heartbroken over today’s news of the passing of Chadwick Boseman, a ‘true fighter’ as his family called him in their poignant tribute,” Netflix said in a statement, per Variety. “This is an incredible loss. We are canceling Monday’s preview event of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’ Please join us in sending your thoughts to his family and loved ones.”
Boseman tragically died on Friday from colon cancer, which he never publicly disclosed, though he battled the diagnosis for years. With his portrayal of Marvel’s Black Panther, Boseman had been catapulted to stardom and broke barriers in the film industry.
Set to be one of Boseman's last screen performances, in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Boseman plays Levee, a promising yet plagued trumpet player who’s trying to make it in the music industry. As an adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name, the film takes place in the late 1920s and focuses on the pioneering “queen of the blues” (Davis) and her band members.
Davis took to Twitter to praise Boseman, writing, “Chadwick…..no words to express my devastation of losing you. Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity……..It was an honor working beside you, getting to know you….Rest well prince…May flights of angels sing thee to thy heavenly rest. I love you!”
Denzel Washington, who produced the film, also released a statement: “He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman,” he said.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is slated for release later this year.