Legendary Hollywood actor Sidney Poitier, known around the world for being the first Black man to win the Best Actor Oscar Award, passed away on Friday. He was 94. Appearing in his first lead role in the 1955 film, Blackboard Jungle, the actor who held dual US and Bahamian nationality, is also known for his performances in films like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Heat of the Night, Lilies in the Field, and many more. Hailing from the Bahamas, Poitier moved to the U.S. at the age of 15 and also served in World War II as a teenager. Upon being discharged from the Army, he got a job as a dishwasher before joining the American Negro Theatre School of Drama after he took an interest in acting. 

Poitier is hailed by the film community and fans around the world for his groundbreaking performances in films like To Sir, with LoveGuess Who's Coming to Dinner, and Heat of the Night - all of which dealt with issues of race and race relations. Having won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field, he also portrayed real-life icons on television like South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela and the first Black justice on the US Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall. Poitier became the  Bahamian ambassador to Japan in 1997 and was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2002, while also being honored with the US Presidential Medal of Freedom - the country's highest civilian honor - by Barack Obama in 2009. He is survived by his second wife Joanna and six children as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

The news of Sidney Poitier's death has left many sad and tributes have been pouring in from celebrities and personalities from all walks of life on social media. Former U.S. President Barack Obama wrote in his condolence message said: "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."

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg penned on Twitter, "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." Likewise, American talk show host Oprah Winfrey tweeted a note and wrote, "For me, the greatest of the "Great Trees" has fallen: Sidney Poitier. My honour to have loved him as a mentor. Friend. Brother. Confidant. Wisdom teacher. The utmost, highest regard and praise for his most magnificent, gracious, eloquent life. I treasured him. I adored him. He had an enormous soul I will forever cherish. Blessings to Joanna and his world of beautiful daughters."