Chadwick Boseman: Incredible

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything for this blog because, well, y’know. Phase 1 of the pandemic (I totally think we are in the midst of it still and this winter is going to be chaotic and hard going on all levels, btw) totally knocked the stuffing out of me, as I suspect it did you too. I won’t dwell on that for now because there are a million other people writing about the impact of Covid-19, much better than I can.

Suffice to say it has been so long since I wrote anything here I had to google the page and I couldn’t find it. But there is another blog called six months to live and it’s reached a ten year anniversary, so kudos to them 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Nope, what I want to write about is the death of Chadwick Boseman. I don’t know any of his films apart from Black Panther, but I’ve been quite stunned to hear that he’s died aged 43 from bowel cancer, for which he has been receiving treatment for four years. FOR FOUR YEARS. For four years while filming (training for, preparing for, rehearsing for) arguably one of the biggest action films of the last decade. I mean COME ON, that is just incredible.

The fact he was (presumably intermittently) receiving what was (presumably pretty nasty) treatment, being (in all likelihood) told over time that it wasn’t working (or words to that affect), and ultimately that his cancer was advancing/inoperable/unstoppable, while working, giving graduation speeches, visiting hospitalised children with cancer….. the mind boggles.

My guess is that his (pretty incredible – repetitive I know, but I can’t think of a better word) legacy is going to set a standard for how to live with a (grim) diagnosis/prognosis, how to deal with your demons with composure, and how to continue to function and contribute to society, in whatever way you can. To LIVE to the best of your ability knowing that your life is coming to an end. That may not be possible for some people, but for others Chadwick Boseman will be a ray of light and hope when they are on the receiving end of “bad news”. What an incredible thing to leave in the world.

Wow. What a man.


Dr Kate Woodthorpe is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology based in the Centre for Death and Society, in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath.

Dr Woodthorpe is an experienced researcher, having published widely on issues related to death ritual and costs, the professional identity of those who support bereaved people, and the experience of undertaking research in this area.

Her publications record can be found here:

Working with partners

I enjoy working with external organisations and partners, and over the years have welcomed opportunities to undertake a variety of consultancy projects with Royal London, Volunteer Cornwall, Sunlife and the City of London Corporation. These projects have been varied in their size and scope, and have included report writing, desk based research, interviewing and consultations, analysis and media work. A select list of publicly accessible outputs can be found below.

Royal London (2016) Keeping the Faith—keeping-the-faith.pdf

Sunlife (2013) ‘When it’s gone, it’s gone: the paradox of saving for funeral costs’, Cost of Dying Annual Report

Kate Tuckwell

A bit like Clark Kent or Dr Jekyll, I work and publish as an academic using my maiden name Woodthorpe, but since having children I am increasingly undertaking activities and campaigning under my married name Tuckwell. As Kate Tuckwell I am involved in work promoting diversity and difference for children born with complex medical issues, support for parents of children with complex medical needs, and inclusion in nursery and schooling. I would welcome enquires connected to my personal work.