Chadwick Boseman was an inspiration to many, and as it turns out, he spent his final days working to improve the lives of others.
Shockwaves rippled throughout the entertainment industry and the world on Friday, August 28, 2020, when Boseman’s family revealed that the Black Panther star had lost a four-year-long battle with colon cancer at the age of 43. Keeping his diagnosis completely private from the public and many of his collaborators was a personal act of courage, and the fact that Boseman made many of his most important and impactful films – including Black Panther, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, and more — while struggling with his illness makes the physical feats involved in them simply unbelievable.
Directors like Ryan Coogler, who helmed the first standalone film for Boseman’s King T’Challa, have admitted in the days since Boseman’s passing that not even they knew about the star’s cancer diagnosis, which progressed from stage III to stage IV in the four years between his diagnosis and death. With that in mind, every interaction between Boseman and his friends and family is now seen in the light of his own illness, including a text he sent to one of Black Panther’s executive producers. This final exchange with one of his colleagues tells fans even more about what a considerate and kind person Boseman was right up until the very end.
As Nate Moore, one of the executive producers on Black Panther, told PEOPLE, he and Boseman shared some touching final words shortly before the actor passed away. Together, the two partnered with the Make-a-Wish foundation to help provide comfort and joy to children diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
“It was during lockdown, and we worked together to get a young boy a voice note from T’Challa, as well as a package of toys — no easy feat when we weren’t allowed to leave our homes or go to the office,” Moore said. “But Chad figured out how to make it work because he cared so intently, and in hindsight, so personally.”
Moore then told PEOPLE exactly what Boseman’s final text to him said: “It broke me, man. But we need to do that for them. People deserve abundant life, special moments. They’ve been through hell battling disease. If we were able to ease their suffering and bring joy for a moment, and hopefully moments has he goes through the bags, then we made a difference in his life.”
Moore added after sharing the text message with PEOPLE, “Again, hindsight will tell us that Chad felt that way because he too was battling a disease. But I don’t think that’s true. I think that’s just who he was as a man. A leader and a caregiver first, who accomplished both of those things as a performer and as a regular person.”