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Harry Belafonte, legendary entertainer and civil rights activist, dies at age 96

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for HB

Harry Belafonte, legendary entertainer and civil rights activist, died in his Manhattan home Tuesday at age 96, multiple outlets reported.

The Calypso King died of congestive heart failure with his wife, Pamela, by his side, said Paula M. Witt, of public relations firm Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis, Fox News Digital reported

Belafonte's career as a singer, actor, and producer made him one of the most honored performers of his era, Variety reported.

He won two Grammy Awards, a Tony, and an Emmy. He also won the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement award in 2000 and the Motion Picture Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2014 at the Governors Awards ceremony.

Outside Belafonte's impressive achievements in the world of entertainment, he devoted his time, energy, talents, and passion to advance the cause of civil rights movement from the 1950s on.

He was a lifelong friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and supported King's racial equality mission. He bailed Dr. King and other activists out of jail and took part in the March on Washington in 1963, the New York Times reported.

Tributes to Belafonte flooded social media soon after news broke of his passing.

"When I was a child, #HarryBelafonte showed up for my family in very compassionate ways. In fact, he paid for the babysitter for me and my siblings. Here he is mourning with my mother at the funeral service for my father at Morehouse College. I won’t forget…Rest well, sir," wrote Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

"Harry Belafonte wasn’t just a singer, he was an architect of change. He was an activist of the Civil Rights Movement, and he was also the first appointed Cultural Advisor to the Peace Corps ... His whole life was devoted to making a difference, whether it was raising the awareness of justice or the HIV/AIDS crisis or women’s rights ... We all have the ability to make a difference, to move humanity forward! Let’s go!," journalist Maria Shriver wrote on Facebook.

"The world has lost a true giant today. Harry Belafonte was a barrier breaker who helped reshape our world through his civil rights advocacy, his music, and his acting. May he rest in peace," wrote Apple's CEO Tim Cook.

"Another 'GREAT TREE' has fallen: Harry Belafonte, a Trailblazer and Hero to us all. Thank you for your music, your artistry, your activism, your fight for civil rights and justice—especially risking your life back in the day to get money to the movement. Your being here on Earth has Blessed us all," Oprah Winfrey wrote on Facebook.

"We have lost the great Harry Belafonte-beautiful singer, brilliant and brave civil rights activist, a deeply moral and caring man. Miss you already Harry," actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow tweeted, adding a broken heart emoji.

Belafonte, too, was a UNICEF Ambassador for 25 years, Farrow added.

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