Legendary film critic Roger Ebert has died today as the result of his long battle with cancer. Ebert had just yesterday posted to his website that he was taking a leave of absence, which he called “a leave of presence,” due to a recurrence of his cancer. However, there was nothing in Ebert’s post which indicated he was close to death. He, in fact, seemed optimistic.
Ebert is most known for his television shows (i.e., At the Movies, Siskel & Ebert, Ebert & Roeper) in which he debated the films of the day with a fellow film critic. Initially, his celluloid sparring partner was Gene Siskel, who died of cancer in 1999. His subsequent co-host was Richard Roper. Clips from these shows are available in a surprising abundance through YouTube.
In 2002, Ebert was first diagnosed with a cancer, which ultimately robbed him of his voice and lower jaw. However, up until the end he remained as vigilant as ever with his written reviews published both in the Chicago Sun-Times and his own personal website/blog. He even set a personal record of 306 published reviews in 2012.
The film community has just lost one of its most respected voices. We are still processing this incredibly sad news, as we probably learned as much about writing about film from Roger Ebert as we did from our various film professors in college. We will have a remembrance and celebration of Roger Ebert up on the site shortly.
UPDATE: Our remembrance and celebration of Roger Ebert is available here.