Barack Obama pays tribute legendary actor Sidney Poitier after news of his passing

Legendary actor Sidney Poitier, the first Black man to win the Best Actor Oscar, died this week at the age of 94, and among the countless tributes that poured in after the news broke, former President Barack Obama shared his reaction to the star’s death, as People magazine reported.

Obama, who described the famous actor as “groundbreaking,” shared a touching photo of himself with Poitier, along with the former president’s wife, Michelle Obama.

“Through his groundbreaking roles and singular talent, Sidney Poitier epitomized dignity and grace, revealing the power of movies to bring us closer together,” Obama wrote.

He added: “He also opened doors for a generation of actors. Michelle and I send our love to his family and legion of fans.”

According to People, Poitier’s death was confirmed by Clint Watson, press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, who said Poitier had passed on Thursday evening.

Poitier scored a number of awards and was recognized constantly during his wildly successful career in Hollywood, including an Academy Award. He was later honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and even attained knighthood.

The late actor served honorably in the U.S. Army, and after his discharge, he would spend time working in dishwashing jobs before he finally joined the American Negro Theater, where he would later be noticed by the right people, who quickly spotted Broadway-level talent.

Poitier was also recognized for his work on various human rights issues. Surviving is his wife Joanna Shimkus, as well as five daughters: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Anika and Sydney.