Entertainment Movies Will Smith Pays Tribute to 'Visionary and True Pioneer' Sidney Poitier: 'Your Legacy Is Eternal' "Thank you Sidney Poitier for breaking down barriers, creating the path and making it possible for there to be a Will Smith" the actor said following the late legend's death on Thursday By Nicholas Rice Nicholas Rice Instagram Twitter Nicholas Rice is a Staff Editor for PEOPLE Magazine. He began working with the brand as an Editorial Intern in early 2020, before later transitioning to a freelance role, and then staff positions soon after. Nicholas writes and edits anywhere between 7 to 9 stories per day on average for PEOPLE, spanning across each vertical the brand covers. Nicholas has previous work experience with Billboard, POPSUGAR, Bustle and Elite Daily. When not working, Nicholas can be found playing with his 5 dogs, listening to pop music or eating mozzarella sticks. People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 9, 2022 01:14 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Bei/Shutterstock Will Smith is paying tribute to the late, great Sidney Poitier. On Saturday, the 53-year-old actor shared a set of photographs of himself and Poitier on Instagram as he penned a message remembering the late star, who died at age 94. "An icon, legend, visionary, and true pioneer. Thank you Sidney Poitier for breaking down barriers, creating the path and making it possible for there to be a Will Smith!" the King Richard actor wrote alongside his post. About Six Degrees of Separation's David Hampton, Who Conned People About Being Sidney Poitier's Son "Your legacy is eternal," Smith added. "Rest In Power." Clint Watson, press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, confirmed Poitier's death to PEOPLE on Friday. The actor and activist died Thursday evening. Poitier was the first Black man to receive an Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the 1963 film, Lilies of the Field. He is survived by his wife Joanna Shimkus as well as five daughters: Beverly, Pamela, Sherri, Anika, and Sydney (His daughter Gina Poitier died in 2018). Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. Alongside Smith, other celebrities paid tribute to the late actor following his death as well. Among them included Halle Berry, Barack Obama, Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, and his To Sir, with Love costar, Lulu, to name a few. RELATED VIDEO: Sidney Poitier, First Black Man to Win Best Actor Oscar and a Titan of Cinema, Dead at 94 On Friday, publicist Mara Buxbaum issued a statement to PEOPLE on behalf of the Poitier family. "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," the statement began. "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." Sidney Poitier Remembered by Oprah Winfrey and More Stars After His Death: 'What a Landmark Actor' "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," the family continued. "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." They added: "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."