Sydney Poitier, the first black person to win best actor award aka Oscars organised annually by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has passed away at the age of 94.
Born to Bahamian parents in Miami Florida while his parents were on tour in the United States, Sydney Poitier became the first black man to win the best actor for his role in the 1963 “Lilies of the Field,”.
His excellent performances and achievements have been considered as symbols of breakthrough for black actors.
His passing has attracted enormous outpouring of grief from politicians, TV celebrities and fellow actors.
Former US President Barack Obama posted on his social media accounts praising his role in promoting unity in racially divided America.
“Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together. He also opened doors for a generation of actors. Michelle and I send our love to his family and legion of fans,” said Obama.
Oprah Winfrey, who described Poitier as a personal mentor, said:
“For me the greatest of the great trees has fallen. Sydney Poitier, it is an honour to have loved him as a mentor, brother, confidant and wisdom teacher. The utmost, highest regard and praise to his most magnificent, gracious eloquent life. I treasured him. I adored him. He had an enormous soul I will forever cherish.”
Legendary actor Morgan Freeman said: “Sidney was my inspiration, my guiding light, my friend. Sending love to Joanna and his family.”