Chadwick Boseman’s passing caught just about everyone off guard. As a celebrity who valued his privacy, it was understandable that he didn’t want his cancer diagnosis to be public. But it’s been a bit of a shock how few people knew. Even Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther, said he had no idea his lead actor was sick for nearly all of the production. One of Boseman’s closest collaborators, Michael B. Jordan, has also spoken up about losing his friend and fellow actor. Of all this week’s tributes, Michael B. Jordan’s Instagram about Chadwick Boseman is one of the most heartbreaking of them all.

Jordan and Boseman were of the same generation of actors, and in their early years, found themselves up for the same role. In 2018, during his commencement speech at his alumni Howard University, Boseman revealed he was asked to audition for a stereotyped role in All My Children at 18. He turned it down. It was not lost on most who did the math that role eventually wound up played by 16-year-old Jordan.

This crossing of paths occurred their whole career, finally culminating in Black Panther. Though Jordan played a villain in Erik Killmonger, the nemesis of T’Challa, their on-screen relationship was such that audiences had a hard time rooting against him. The compassion Boseman’s character showed on screen for Killmonger’s anger helped audiences understand both perspectives.

As Jordan says in his Instagram message, all he wishes now is that they had more time.

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I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything. I wish we had more time. One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked , and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you’ve known it or not…I’ve been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness. I wish we had more time. Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family , your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here. I wish we had more time. I'm more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I’m gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I’ll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets. “Is this your king!?” Yes . he . is!  Rest In Power Brother.

A post shared by Michael B. Jordan (@michaelbjordan) on

The message reads in part:

Jordan goes on to talk about how their careers will forever be associated with each other: "One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked, and now the truth of that means more to me than ever." He also regrets never getting to tell Boseman how much he loved him. "You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here. I wish we had more time."

But perhaps the most moving part of the message is that Jordan vows to carry on the legacy and work that Boseman started. One of Boseman’s career aspects highlighted since his passing was his choice to play roles on-screen that exemplified the best of Black culture, that he was aware his choices reflected on those who watched him on big screens and small. Jordan says in his closing words that he will take up that mantle.

Rest in Power.

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