The 43-year-old actor, who lost a secret four-year battle with colon cancer on Friday (28Aug20), portrayed the superhero onscreen in the 2018 blockbuster, but in a heartfelt post Bassett revealed she knew him long before she played his onscreen mother.
"It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family," the actress wrote on Instagram next to a photo of them hugging at a "Black Panther" event. "But what many don't know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther."
"During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever!"
She recalled, "We'd spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience."
"This young man's dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother...'thou aren't not dead but flown afar....' All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince."
Kevin Feige, Bob Iger, Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Wendell Pierce, Taraji P. Henson, and Brooklyn Decker are among the many stars who have also paid tribute.