Sidney Poitier, Hollywood’s trailblazer, has passed away at the age of 94. He was the first black actor who broke through racial barriers and won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the 1963’s Lilies of the Field, creating a history.
“There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now. We are so grateful he was able to spend his last day surrounded by his family and friends,” read a statement issued to People tabloid on Friday on behalf of the Poitier family.
“To us Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist, and a man of incredible grace and moral fortitude; he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father, and a man who always put family first. He is our guiding light who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder. His smile was healing, his hugs the warmest refuge, and his laughter was infectious. We could always turn to him for wisdom and solace and his absence feels like a giant hole in our family and our hearts.” the statement continued.
“Although he is no longer here with us in this realm, his beautiful soul will continue to guide and inspire us. He will live on in us, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren — in every belly laugh, every curious inquiry, every act of compassion and kindness,” the statement says. “His legacy will live on in the world, continuing to inspire not only with his incredible body of work, but even more so with his humanity.
“We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to every single one of you for the outpouring of love from around the world. So many have been touched by our dad’s extraordinary life, his unwavering sense of decency and respect for his fellow man. His faith in humanity never faltered, so know that for all the love you’ve shown him, he loved you back,” the statement concludes.
Stars from entertainment industry and beyond, along with current and former U.S. President Joe Biden and former President, Barack Obama, expressed deep sorrow and led emotional tributes as the news about the death of the celebrated actor and humanitarian broke on Friday. Obama said Poitier “epitomised dignity and grace” and had “singular talent”.
Born in Miami, Sidney Poitier grew up on a tomato farm in the Bahamas and moved to New York aged 16.