Sir Sidney Poitier‘s memorial service will be held privately.
In a statement shared with ET Sunday, the late actor’s family announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Poitier’s memorial service will be a private, family affair.
“The Poitier family so appreciates the wonderful outpouring of love, support and affection for Sidney,” the statement began. “There have been many inquiries about an event to honor his life. At this time, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a private memorial service has been arranged for the family with the possibility of a more public memorial service should the virus’ numbers subside in the near future.”
Instead of flowers, Poitier’s family urged those wishing to honor the legendary actor to donate to some of his favorite charitable organizations
“In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor him are encouraged to donate to some of his favorite organizations and charities including The Children’s Defense Fund, The United Negro College Fund, and the Alzheimer’s Association,” the family added.
Just last week, ET learned that Poitier, who died Jan. 6 at the age of 94, died of heart failure. While his death certificate indicated that he suffered from a combination of both prostate cancer and dementia for many years, neither led to his death.
Clint Watson, press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas confirmed the Oscar-winning actor, writer, director and activist’s death to ET on Jan. 7.
A source close to the family told ET at the time that Poitier had been bedridden for some time and passed away at his home in Beverly Hills, California. The actor’s rep also told ET that his family was by his side at the time of his death.
The film and TV icon made history in 1964 as the first Black actor, and the first Bahamian, to win an Oscar and Golden Globe in a leading role, which he earned for “Lilies of the Field”. He became one of Hollywood’s leading men starring in a heap of classic films including, “To Sir With Love”, “Porgy and Bess”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.
An outpouring of social media posts, messages and heartfelt tributes have been shared in the wake of Poitier’s passing, with everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Barack Obama and his daughter, Sydney, sharing their favorite memories of the acting icon.
Poitier’s family also released a statement of their own regarding the actor’s death, in which they shared how his legacy will live on in the world.
In a statement to ET, the Poitier family said the iconic actor and humanitarian spent his last day surrounded by his family and friends. “There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now,” the statement began.
The family, for decades, took immense pride in Poitier’s acting achievements, but their pride extended beyond those accomplishments.
“To us Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist, and a man of incredible grace and mortal fortitude,” the statement continued, “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 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,” the statement concluded. “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.”
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