Tributes are being paid to US actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Black Panther in the celebrated superhero film set in a fictional African nation, after he died on Friday aged 43.
“This is a crushing blow,” wrote director Jordan Peele.
The Black Panther rallying cry “Wakanda Forever” trended online, as celebrities, civil rights activists and fans posted emotional messages.
The actor’s cancer diagnosis was not publicly known.
“What a gentle gifted soul. Showing us all that greatness between surgeries and chemotherapy. This is what dignity looks like,” wrote TV star and author Oprah Winfrey.
The eldest son of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr said Mr Boseman “brought history to life” in his depictions of prominent black individuals including baseball player Jackie Robinson and soul singer James Brown.
Ava DuVernay, who has directed a string of powerful films and documentaries including Selma, about the fight for civil rights in the 1960s, wrote “may you have a beautiful return, King.”
Journalist Clint Smith echoed others on Twitter writing about how much Black Panther meant to his young son who idolised T’Challa, the character played by Mr Boseman.
Last year Mr Boseman said the film had changed what it meant to be “young, gifted and black”.
He is “a big reason why our kids don’t have to wonder about what a Black superhero is”, tweeted writer Brian Josephs.
Award-winning musician John Legend called Mr Boseman “a bright light [who] brought grace, elegance and power to everything he did. He always seemed to carry our ancestors with him”.
Several on Twitter drew attention to the work that Mr Boseman produced while he was living with colon cancer after being diagnosed in 2016. “During that time, he gave us Civil War, Marshall, Black Panther, Infinity War, Endgame, 21 Bridges and Da 5 Bloods,” wrote journalist Jemele Hill.
- LISTEN: Black Panther reviewed by Mark Kermode
- Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o on ‘reimagining Africa’
Hollywood has also paid tribute to the actor, including Marvel Studios which created Black Panther, as well as Disney and the Academy Awards which called it “an immeasurable loss”.
Fellow Marvel stars shared their feelings of loss on Twitter and Instagram. Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, wrote “All I have to say is the tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound by the loss of Chadwick Boseman.”
Tom Holland who is currently playing Spiderman said the actor was “even more of a hero off screen” and called him a role model for millions around the world.