Letitia Wright, who starred alongside Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther as his on-screen sister Shuri, broke her silence on Boseman's death with a simple, heartbreaking tweet on Sunday morning. Boseman died on Friday following a battle with colon cancer, which he never disclosed publicly. Ryan Coogler, who directed Black Panther, revealed he was not even aware of Boseman's illness in his own tribute to the late actor.
"This hurts. Really hurts," Wright wrote on Twitter. Just two days earlier, she noted how she still struggles to convince producers to hire Black hair and makeup artists on movies. "It's 2020…& I'm still having to ask for a black hair & makeup artist to be given the role of 'head of department' on a film set with 99% black cast members," Wright tweeted Friday afternoon. "Lord have mercy."
Black Panther was Wright's breakthrough movie, following critically-acclaimed performances in several British TV shows. She played Shuri again in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame and stars in Kenneth Branagh's upcoming Death on the Nile. Her message on Boseman's death was embraced by fans who shared their condolences. "You both inspired the world and you continue to inspire the world. Prayers out to you Red heart," one fan wrote. "Thinking of you Letitia! I can't even imagine what [you're] going through right now," another wrote.
Earlier Sunday, Coogler spoke out on Boseman as well, noting that the very-private actor did not discuss his illness with him. "After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him," Coogler said. Coogler shared stories about meeting Boseman and working on Black Panther together. "It's no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones," Coogler wrote. "I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us until we meet again."
On Sunday night, ABC is airing Black Panther for the first time on network television and without commercials at 8 p.m. ET. ABC News, ABC Entertainment, and Marvel also produced a 40-minute tribute special on Boseman's life, which will air after the film. The movie was the first Marvel movie nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and won for Best Original Score, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.