Zuri, set to be portrayed by Forest Whitaker, is a spiritual leader of Wakanda, and a fierce warrior. As one of King T'Chaka's most trusted advisors and closest friends he has watched T'Challa grow into a king, and now serves him the same way he served his father.
Director Ryan Coogler has described Zuri as the Obi Wan Kenobi of Black Panther, and we all know how that ended. While Whitaker's character will serve as a guide and mentor for T'Challa, his death before the end of the movie is inevitable.
If we are to take Coogler at his word, we may see Zuri's death, most likely at the hands of Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, come as one final lesson for T'Challa. A sacrifice to help further the king on his path.
As the last tie T'Challa has to his father, paired with the incredible acting chops of both Forest Whitaker and Chadwick Boseman, this will undoubtedly be the most emotionally charged scene throughout the entire movie, reminiscent of Yondu's death in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.