According to the Chicago Sun-Times, beloved critic Roger Ebert has died. Ebert was 70 years old. The news came first from a Sun-Times tweet with confirmation later on its website: “It is with a heavy heart we report that legendary film critic Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) has passed away.”
Just yesterday, Ebert stated he would take “a leave of presence” due to a resurgence in his cancer. “I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review,” he wrote in his blog, before signing off with his final published words: “So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”
Ebert was born in 1942 in Urbana, Ill., a state where he would eventually thrive as the head film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times. His career kicked off in 1967 at the Sun-Times, where in 1975 he’d become the first film critic to win the Pulitzer prize.
In 1982, Ebert helped develop the TV program At the Movies, which would run through 1990 and feature Ebert’s long-time collaborator, Gene Siskel. The duo reviewed films together until Siskel’s death in 1999.
Since then, Ebert reviewed films with a rotating cast for At the Movies, collaborating most notably with Richard Roeper on-screen. After a 2002 cancer diagnosis, the critic stopped appearing on TV in 2006 due to speaking complications from reconstructive surgery on his jaw. Still Ebert wrote, often on his blog.
Aside from his Pulitzer, Ebert published 15 books on film and criticism, was awarded his own Hollywood star (also a first for a critic) and started his own film festival, EbertFest, in Champaign, Ill., which focused on films Ebert felt were overlooked.
Ebert is survived by his wife, Chaz. We will update as more news is available.