America’s most beloved movie critic Roger Ebert passed away today at 70.
The news was first announced by the Chicago Sun-Times, where Ebert reviewed films for 46 years and on television for 31 years. His work made him a household name, easily the most visible and prominent American film critic working today.
From the paper of record’s Twitter: “It is with a heavy heart we report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert has passed away.”
In 2006, Ebert had his chin and lower jaw removed to battle a thyroid and salivary gland cancer diagnosis. It left him unable to speak or eat, but that didn’t keep him from his work or his love of cinema.
Among his many achievements is winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1975, a first for a film critic. That same year, Ebert launched the television program “Siskel & Ebert” with his Chicago Tribune colleague Gene Siskel, which immortalized the saying “two thumbs up.” Siskel passed away in 1999. That seat was eventually filled by critic Richard Roeper, a partnership that lasted until 2006.
After years of remission, Ebert’s cancer relapsed recently. He revealed its recurrence to his followers in his final tweet, explaining his “leave of presence.” In it’s final sentence he writes, “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.”
He’s survived by his wife Chaz, step-daughter, and two step-grandchildren.