Roger Ebert, America’s most well-known and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago at the age of 70. He had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland.
Just two days ago Ebert announced that he was taking a “leave of presence” from his writing duties to focus on his health.
“What in the world is a leave of presence?” he wrote. “It means I am not going away. 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 reviewed movies for the “Chicago Sun-Times” for 46 years and on TV for 31 years. His partner Gene Siskel from “At The Moves” died on February 20, 1999 from complications related to a cancerous brain tumor. He was 53.