Legendary Actor Sidney Poitier Dead at 94
Sidney Poitier‘s cause of death has been determined more than a week after his passing.
The legendary actor died on Jan. 6 from a combination of heart failure, Alzheimer’s dementia and prostate cancer, according to a death certificate obtained by E! News. He was 94.
While he had suffered from dementia and cancer for years, per the document, he experienced heart failure in the hours before his passing.
The death certificate stated that Poitier passed away at his Beverly Hills home and was cremated. It also mentioned Poitier’s history as an actor of 76 years.
During his prolific career, Poitier starred in films such as Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun, To Sir, With Love and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
In 1964, he made Oscar history when he became the first Black man to win an Academy Award in the Best Actor category for his role of Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field. More than three decades later, he received an honorary Oscar “in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being,” per the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ database.
Poitier’s list of accolades also included three Golden Globes, a Grammy and a Screen Actors Guild Award. In addition, he had received an AFI Life Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honor and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Since his death, many celebrities and notable figures have paid tribute to the Hollywood icon—including Whoopi Goldberg, Tyler Perry, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kelly Rowland and Loni Love.
In a statement issued by the White House following Poitier’s passing, President Joe Biden described the late star as a “once-in-a-generation actor and advocate whose work carried so much dignity, power, and grace that it changed the world on and off the big screen.”
“Sidney was more than just one of the finest actors in our history,” Biden said. “With unflinching grandeur and poise—his singular warmth, depth, and stature on-screen—Sidney helped open the hearts of millions and changed the way America saw itself.”
“The son of tomato farmers in the Bahamas, Sidney became the first Black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor—but the trail he blazed extended leaps and bounds beyond his background or profession,” he continued.” He blazed a path for our Nation to follow, and a legacy that touches every part of our society today.”
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama, who awarded Poitier the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, said in a tweet that the actor “epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together.”
“He also opened doors for a generation of actors,” he added. “Michelle [Obama] and I send our love to his family and legion of fans.”
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