Sidney Poitier Dies at 94

Sidney Poitier Dies at 94

Legendary actor, director and activist Sidney Poitier has died. He was 94 years old.

He passed away on Thursday evening in his Los Angeles home. And according to a statement given to Forbes from Clint Watson, the press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas — which is where he grew up — he died of “natural causes” and had been “ailing for a while.”

Poitier paved the way for Black actors, starring in classic films such as Lilies of the Field, To Sir, With Love and In the Heat of the Night. He gave many more iconic performances and was considered Hollywood's first Black leading man and movie star. He was also the first Black man to ever win an Academy Award.

But beyond titles and awards, the actor was truly passionate about telling the stories of his people through his work, exploring racial tensions and societal changes in the '60s, and making a conscious effort to take roles that moved African American representation forward.

"It's been an enormous responsibility," he told Oprah Winfrey in 2000. "And I accepted it, and I lived in a way that showed how I respected that responsibility. I had to. In order for others to come behind me, there were certain things I had to do."

Now friends and fans are paying tribute to the Hollywood icon online. See some of the most touching messages below.

Photo via Getty