The Oscar winner once paid for Boseman's acting program without ever knowing it until years later.
Following news of his death, Washington honored the late actor, whom he helped pay for his acting program years before Boseman made a name for himself in Hollywood.
"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," the Oscar winner expressed in a statement given to ET.
In a 2018 Rolling Stone interview, Boseman revealed that Washington helped pay for his and a couple of other Howard University students' acting programs at England's Oxford University. The Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad was one of Boseman's professors and had reached out to celebrity friends, including Washington, to ask to sponsor students.
After news broke, in a 2018 interview with Stephen Colbert, Washington joked that he expected the actor to pay him back.
Boseman also thanked Washington in a speech during the Malcolm X star's American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony in 2019.
“Many of you already know the story that Mr. Washington, when asked by Phylicia Rashad to join her in assisting nine theater students from Howard University who had been accepted to a summer acting program at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford, gracefully and privately agreed to contribute," Boseman recalled. "As fate would have it, I was one of the students that he paid for…Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet.”
"There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington," he noted.
Washington, meanwhile, also served as producer on one of Boseman's final films before his death, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Upon news of his death, Netflix canceled a Monday preview of the movie, which is set to be released later this year.
Directed by George C. Wolfe, the drama is based on the play of the same name by August Wilson, and tells the story of "Mother of the Blues" Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) during a 1927 recording session.
"Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable 'Mother of the Blues,'" the logline reads.
Davis also took to Instagram to express her heartbreak over Boseman's death, 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! 💛💛💛. My heart cannot take 2020! Please God no more!!!"
Boseman's other Ma Rainey's other co-stars, Colman Domingo, Taylour Paige and Glynn Turman, also honored the late actor on their social media.
Additionally, Ted Sarandos, Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, also said in a statement: "Chadwick was a superhero on screen and in life, and it’s impossible to imagine working at the level he has while valiantly battling his illness. His legacy as a person and an artist will inspire millions. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time."
For more on Boseman's death, see below.