Chadwick Boseman's death and private cancer battle came as a shock to many of his fans, friends, and co-stars last month. Now some of the members of his innermost circle, who were aware of his health struggles at the time, are opening up about the late actor's fortitude and what was behind his decision to keep his diagnosis quiet.
In a new profile for The Hollywood Reporter, Boseman's producing partner, Logan Coles, his longtime agent, Michael Greene, and his trainer, Addison Henderson, open up about the actor's struggles.
According to Greene, Boseman chose to keep his cancer diagnosis a secret partly due to his mother, Carolyn's, influence.
"[She] always taught him not to have people fuss over him," Greene says. "He also felt in this business that people trip out about things, and he was a very, very private person."
This decision meant he often had to suffer in silence. Greene adds that while Boseman was filming the upcoming Netflix film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, "he was really in hard-core pain" but "felt that being able to be with [producer] Denzel [Washington] and to launch this cycle of [playwright] August Wilson at Netflix was so exciting to him."
His trainer, Henderson, praises Boseman for his hard work and dedication.
"I used to tell Chad, 'Man, you remind me of my dad,'" Henderson, whose father beat cancer four times, says. "'You guys are fighters, and you never stop moving forward.' 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 [Taylor Simone Ledward], we were always just here to support him."
Henderson adds that Boseman was passionate about "using his time and his moment to really affect people."
"Some people wait a lifetime to get the opportunity that he had, 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," Henderson says.
For more on Boseman's life and legacy, watch the clip below: