Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times who was also known for co-hosting "At the Movies," has died at age 70, the Chicago Sun-Times announced on Thursday, April 4.
Ebert had announced earlier this week that he was taking a "leave of presence" because of a recurrence of cancer.
Ebert was first diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2002. Throughout the past decade, Ebert has had to undergo several surgeries and has suffered two hip fractures, which has limited his ability to move. He also lost his voice and part of his jaw as a result of the surgeries from his cancer battle.
The writer had announced his "leave of presence" on his blog and said at the time that he was undergoing radiation treatment for cancer that was discovered after he fractured his hip last year.
"It means I am not going away," Ebert wrote on Tuesday, April 2. "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."
Ebert became the Chicago Sun-Times' film critic in 1967. He was the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism and won his award in 1975. Also that year, Ebert and fellow film critic Gene Siskel launched "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You" and it went on to become a syndicated show called "At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert," in 1982. Siskel died in 1999 at the age of 53 after battling brain cancer.(
Ebert is survived by his wife Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert, two step-children and four step-grandchildren. The couple wed in 1992. She said in a statement published by the Chicago Sun-Times that she has lost the love of her life.
"He was happy and radiating satisfaction over the outpouring of responses to his blog about his 46th year as a film critic," she said. "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."