Denzel Washington is paying tribute to late actor Chadwick Boseman, who died on Friday at the age of 43 after battling colon cancer. The Oscar winner released a statement on Boseman’s passing on Saturday.
“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,” Washington’s statement reads, according to People. “God bless Chadwick Boseman.”
Boseman, who starred in a number of major films including Black Panther and 42, held a special appreciation for Denzel Washington. Before making it big in Hollywood, Washington paid the tuition for Boseman, and several of his Howard University classmates, to attend a prestigious theater program at England’s Oxford University.
Chadwick Boseman on Denzel Washington Paying His Tuition
In 2019, Boseman detailed the full story about Washington paying his tuition. The late actor shared the touching memory before the Training Day actor accepted the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
“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 said.
Boseman continued by saying: “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.”
One of Boseman’s most iconic rules came in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing King T’Challa in Black Panther. Boseman said that the role would not have been possible without Washington. “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington,” Boseman later said.
The previous year, 2018, Boseman spoke out about the first time he got to properly thank Washington for his support. He recalled the conversation while speaking with ABC’s Michael Strahan on the Oscars red carpet.
“It was a fun conversation. The first thing he said was, ‘You owe me money! I came to collect!’” Boseman said. “It was so deep, I can’t even go into it right now. We sort of just talked about what’s been happening, what’s about to happen.”