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Sidney Poitier’s Family Pays Emotional Tribute to Their ‘Guiding Light’

The Oscar winner's family remembers the man "who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder" after his death at age 94.

TO SIR, WITH LOVE, Sidney Poitier, 1967

Sidney Poitier

Courtesy Everett Collection

At the news of Oscar winner Sidney Poitier’s death at age 94, tributes poured in from around the world about his impact as both an entertainer and as an activist. Now, his family has shared a statement, in which they pay honor to the man “who always put family first.” Read the statement in full below.
There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now. We are so grateful he was able to spend his last day surrounded by his family and friends. To us Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist, and a man of incredible grace and moral fortitude, he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father, and a man who always put family first. He is our guiding light who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder. His smile was healing, his hugs the warmest refuge, and his laughter was infectious. We could always turn to him for wisdom and solace and his absence feels like a giant hole in our family and our hearts. Although he is no longer here with us in this realm, his beautiful soul will continue to guide and inspire us. He will live on in us, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren — in every belly laugh, every curious inquiry, every act of compassion and kindness. His legacy will live on in the world, continuing to inspire not only with his incredible body of work, but even more so with his humanity.

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to every single one of you for the outpouring of love from around the world. So many have been touched by our dad’s extraordinary life, his unwavering sense of decency and respect for his fellow man. His faith in humanity never faltered, so know that for all the love you’ve shown him, he loved you back.

Poitier, best-known for his trailblazing work in ’60s Hollywood as the star of “In the Heat of the Night,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” and “Lilies of the Field,” will also be honored January 9 with a day of programming on OWN, including his appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and his 1967 film “To Sir, With Love.”

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