Shaquille O'Neal Reflects on the Death of Chadwick Boseman: 'He Will Definitely Be Missed'

The Black Panther star died on Friday at his home surrounded by family after a years-long battle with colon cancer

Shaquille O’Neal is adding himself to the long list of celebrities paying their respects to Chadwick Boseman.

Speaking virtually with Extra host Billy Bush in a recent interview, the basketball legend said that Boseman's death is "a really big loss."

During their chat, O'Neal first recounted a time when he watched Boseman's hit Marvel flick, Black Panther, and expressed his love for the film and the actor, sharing, "You know what's crazy, I had to ask somebody was Wakanda a real place? That's how much I was into the movie."

"Chadwick did a great job," he added. "He will definitely, definitely be missed."

Bush, then noting that Boseman was on set with O’Neal during an episode of Inside the NBA back in October 2019, also asked the former Los Angeles Lakers player what their time was like together at the event.

"He was nice. He was smooth. He was eloquent," O’Neal said of the late actor. "And I never knew he was sick. It just shows what type of guy he was. Even though he was sick he was still out working, doing stuff in the community."

Shaq and Chadwick Boseman
Kevin Winter/Getty; Sarah Morris/FilmMagic

Boseman died last week at his home surrounded by family after a years-long battle with colon cancer.

"It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman," the official social media accounts for Boseman announced Friday. "⁣Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV."

"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

A slew of Boseman's famous friends – from his fellow Marvel castmates to behind-the-scenes workers he crossed paths with over the years — have also paid tribute to the Black Panther star following his death.

Boseman's onscreen sister Letitia Wright shared a sweet message where she recited an emotional poem, in which she says, "I wish I got to say goodbye," as Kamala Harris remembered Boseman as an "old soul."

Similarly, Boseman’s stylist, Ashley Weston, penned a heartfelt letter to the star as Michael B. Jordan paid tribute to his "big brother," writing, "I wish we had more time" in a reflective Instagram post.

Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

RELATED VIDEO: Chadwick Boseman, Star of Black Panther, Dies at 43 After 4-Year Cancer Battle

Elsewhere during their chat, Bush also asked O’Neal what his message is to kids who looked up to Boseman, as well as Kobe Bryant, now that the two stars are gone.

"You just have to tell them to remember all the good times," he said. "They will definitely be missed, they will definitely be around forever."

O’Neal then described how he is doing his part for the community to help kids, sharing that the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation is teaming up with JCPenny for the Ready for Anything Challenge.

"I want to help inspire and encourage kids," he shared. "They're all going through hard times especially with going back to school."

Related Articles