I have always known about Roger Ebert since I started being interested in Hollywood and it's movies, and more recently since I got the Fandango app and started checking out the critic's reviews more often, I've been drawn to his blog for the Chicago Sun times. He is witty and fun, and yet can be serious too. I like his approach to movie reviews, and if I read his review before seeing a movie, I enjoy it more, reading the reviews after equally gives me another or a deeper insight into what I've seen.
On a personal level, I've seen him a few times in interviews, twice alone, and once with his wife, and I found his survival in the face of aggressive and repeated cancer amazing, the strength of the woman who had stood by him inspiring. Roger Ebert had attributed the success of his fight against cancer to his wife of over 20 years, Chaz Ebert, and now in announcing his death, she has penned an equally touching tribute.
CHICAGO, April 4, 2013 -- Chaz Ebert issued the following statement Thursday about the passing of her husband, Roger Ebert, a day after he celebrated 46 years as a film critic:
"I am devastated by the loss of my love, Roger -- my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. He fought a courageous fight. I've lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world. We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other.
"Roger was a beloved husband, stepfather to Sonia and Jay, and grandfather to Raven, Emil, Mark and Joseph. Just yesterday he was saying how his grandchildren were "the best things in my life." He was happy and radiating satisfaction over the outpouring of responses to his blog about his 46th year as a film critic. But he was also getting tired of his fight with cancer, and said if this takes him, he has lived a great and full life.
"We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.
"We are touched by all the kindness and the outpouring of love we've received. And I want to echo what Roger said in his last blog, thank you for going on this journey with us."
You can read Roger Ebert's 20th wedding anniversary note to his wife in 2012, titled Roger Loves Chaz, here.
May his soul rest in peace.