Legendary Film Critic Roger Ebert Has Died

AP

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert died Thursday after a battle with cancer, the Chicago Sun-Times announced. He was 70.

“It is with a heavy heart we report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) has passed away,” the Sun-Times tweeted. “There is a hole that can’t be filled. One of the greats has left us. Roger Ebert has passed away at the age of 70.”

Ebert was a critic for the Sun-Times since 1967 and hosted a long-running TV program, famous for its thumbs-up and thumbs-down judgements.

News of Ebert’s passing came just a day after he announced he was undergoing radiation treatment for a recurrence of cancer and would be scaling back his workload. He previously battled cancer in his thyroid and salivary glands and had portions of his jaw removed during treatment, rendering him unable to speak or eat.

Ebert had said he was taking “a leave of presence.”

“It means I am not going away,” he wrote in a blog post late Tuesday. “I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.”

In a statement, President Barack Obama said “the movies won’t be the same without Roger.”

“For a generation of Americans — and especially Chicagoans — Roger was the movies,” Obama said. “When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive — capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical. Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient — continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world.”