The Tragic Death Of Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier, longtime actor, Hollywood icon, and the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, has died at age 94. NBC News confirmed the story on January 7. The report did not confirm the cause of death. Poitier leaves behind six children — four daughters who he shared with his ex-wife, Juanita Hardy, and two daughters who he welcomed into the world with his second wife, Joanna Shimkus — Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Gina, Anika, and Sydney.

Poitier's death was met with an immediate outpouring of grief on social media. Actor Jeffrey Wright tweeted, "What a landmark actor. One of a kind. What a beautiful, gracious, warm, genuinely regal man. RIP, Sir. With love." Another fan shared a memory of the famous actor, writing, "I remember watching To Sir, with Love in high school," calling the actor a "legend."  

As the news of Poitier's death reached the public, his fans paused to remember his life and his legacy.

Sidney Poitier was his 'own man'

Sidney Poitier was born into a poor family along with six other siblings, according to However, despite facing poverty, racism, and rejection, he was determined to succeed. He was also determined to, as he said, "walk through my life as my own man."

"I'd seen my father. He was a poor man, and I watched him do astonishing things. After the [family's] tomato business failed [on Cat Island], he moved to Nassau with no money," the star recalled. Even though Poitier's father struggled with rheumatoid arthritis, his son "saw him hang on to his dignity day by day. And it was hard, because there, if you had nothing, you got no respect. Yet he never lost his dignity. And in his lifetime, my father never earned as much money as I spend in a week."

Poitier certainly did succeed and earned seemingly endless industry honors, such as an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and a Grammy, along with a bevy of others, per Variety. Even the slew of awards, however, don't convey his true impact on the world. "I'd never seen a Black man being celebrated like that," Oprah Winfrey said (via AP News) at the 2018 Golden Globes of Poitier's 1964 Oscar win, explaining how that single moment affected her as a little girl.

Still, when it comes to what Poitier valued in his life, it all came back to family, with the star telling People in 2016: "My wife and my children mean the most to me." R.I.P to an industry legend.