Movie critic Roger Ebert passes away

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Roger Ebert, the journalist and film critic who was the first to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism and also the first to be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, died Thursday. He was 70 years old.

Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 45 years, “had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland” according to Chicago Sun-Times, which reported his death.

This Jan. 2009 file photo shows film critic and author Roger Ebert, recipient of the Honorary Life Member Award, at the Directors Guild of America Awards  in Los Angeles. (Associated Press)
This Jan. 2009 file photo shows film critic and author Roger Ebert, recipient of the Honorary Life Member Award, at the Directors Guild of America Awards in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

Ebert was famous for his film review column in the Chicago Sun-Times and for co-hosting the widely popular programs “Sneak Previews,” “At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert,” “Siskel and Ebert and the Movies,” and, after Siskel’s death, “Ebert & Roeper & the Movies,” where he teamed up with Richard Roeper.

Ebert announced on his blog on Wednesday that the cancer he’d battled for years was back and that he was undergoing treatment.

Even at 70, Ebert was full of life and new ideas for his projects.

“Ebertfest, my annual film festival, celebrating its 15th year, will continue at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, my alma mater and home town, April 17–21,” Ebert wrote in his blog on Wednesday. “In response to your repeated requests to bring back the TV show ‘At the Movies,’ I am launching a fundraising campaign via Kickstarter in the next couple of weeks. And gamers beware, I am even thinking about a movie version of a video game or mobile app. Once completed, you can engage me in debate on whether you think it is art.”

Ebert was arguably the most powerful movie critic in the history of cinematography. In 2012, he wrote 306 movie reviews, which represented, according to his blog, the most of his career.

He first found out that he had cancer in 2002 and had been undergoing treatment since then.

In 2010, Ebert wrote about his pending death:

“I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear,” Ebert wrote. “I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder and laughter.”

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