Sir Sidney Poitier, who was the first Black man to win the Best Actor Oscar, has died aged 94.
The actor, who also worked as a filmmaker, activist and ambassador, was confirmed to have passed away by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bahamas, Fred Mitchell (via The Guardian).
“We’ve lost a great a Bahamian and I’ve lost a personal friend,” Mitchell said.
Poitier’s cause of death has yet to be confirmed.
Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said he was “conflicted with great sadness and a sense of celebration when I learned of the passing of Sir Sidney Poitier”.
“Sadness that he would no longer be here to tell him how much he means to us, but celebration that he did so much to show the world that those from the humblest beginnings can change the world and that we gave him his flowers while he was with us.
“We have lost an icon; a hero, a mentor, a fighter, a national treasure.”
Poitier won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1964 for Lilies Of The Field. Additionally, he was nominated for a further two Oscars, 10 Golden Globes and six BAFTAs. He was hailed as one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
During an expansive career, Poitier starred in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and To Sir, With Love.
Off screen, he was awarded a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2009.
Tributes have began to flood in from Hollywood. “Sidney Poitier. What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love,” tweeted James Bond actor Jeffrey Wright.
“Sidney Poitier. An absolute legend. One of the greats,” wrote Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Sidney Poitier. An absolute legend. One of the greats. pic.twitter.com/jd2Xd7vmIJ
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) January 7, 2022
See more tributes to Poitier below.
If you wanted the sky i would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high..
To Sir… with Love
Sir Sidney Poitier R.I.P.
He showed us how to reach for the stars
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) January 7, 2022
Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win an Oscar, has died at the age of 94. The star of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and “Lilies of the Field,” for which he won Best Actor, was a trailblazer who will be mourned by so many for whom he opened the very doors of Hollywood.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 7, 2022
A brilliant actor, director and activist RIP Sidney Poitier pic.twitter.com/uq1bDVQ9vO
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) January 7, 2022