By Rachel Yang
January 12, 2021 at 12:35 AM EST
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Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Chadwick Boseman posthumously received the Actor Tribute honor at the Gotham Awards on Monday, and his widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, gave a moving speech celebrating the actor.

"He was the most honest person I'd ever met because he didn't just stop at speaking the truth: he actively searched for it in himself and those around him and in the moment," she said in a virtual speech. "The truth can be a very easy thing for the self to avoid, but if one does not live in truth then it's impossible to live in line with the divine purpose for your life. And so it became how he lived his life, day in and out. Imperfect but determined."

She continued: "In doing so, he was able to give himself over fully in every moment, to be totally present in his own life and in the lives of people he became. He was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one. He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the none, the one, and the all.

"'A vessel to be poured into and out of,' he said. He harnessed the power of letting go and letting God's love shine through," she continued. "He realized that when one is able to recognize that when their strength does not come from themself, they rarely mess up. That's what he was doing when he was acting. [He] was not merely telling a story or reading lines on a page, but modeling a path to true fulfillment."

Ledward Boseman also said it was an honor to receive the award on behalf of her husband, as it was an "acknowledgment not only of his profound work but of his impact on this industry and this world."

With tears, she concluded: "Chad, thank you. I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us. Thank you."

The actor, who died of complications from colon cancer in August, also scored a nomination for Best Actor for his final film appearance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, although Riz Ahmed ultimately won for Sound of Metal.

Boseman's Ma Rainey co-star Viola Davis also received the Tribute prize, while Chloé Zhao's Nomadland took home Best Feature and Nicole Beharie won Best Actress for her performance in Miss Juneteenth.

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