Longtime film critic Roger Ebert has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.
Ebert reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Time for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, most famously with fellow critic Gene Siskel (who died in 1999) and their "thumbs up, thumbs down" rating system. After Siskel's death, Ebert was joined by Richard Roeper.
Ebert battled cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland, losing part of his lower jaw in 2006.
Ebert won a Pulitzer Prize and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Just two days ago, Ebert went on a "leave of presence" from the Sun-Times, writing:
"What in the world is a leave of presence? It means I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.
It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.
So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."
His wife, Chaz, released this statement:
"I am devastated by the loss of my love, Roger -- my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. He fought a courageous fight. I’ve lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world. We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other.
Roger was a beloved husband, stepfather to Sonia and Jay, and grandfather to Raven, Emil, Mark and Joseph. Just yesterday he was saying how his grandchildren were “the best things in my life.” He was happy and radiating satisfaction over the outpouring of responses to his blog about his 46th year as a film critic. But he was also getting tired of his fight with cancer, and said if this takes him, he has lived a great and full life.
We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.
We are touched by all the kindness and the outpouring of love we’ve received. And I want to echo what Roger said in his last blog, thank you for going on this journey with us."Our deepest condolences to his friends and family. We'll see you at the movies, Roger.
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