Roger Ebert, a movie critic whose sharp wit and depth of knowledge delighted millions of readers and viewers, has died of cancer at the age of 70.
Ebert, who reviewed films for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, was America’s most prominent and influential critic.
He had been in poor health for years, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland. He lost part of his lower jaw in 2006, and with it the ability to speak or eat.
That calamity that would have driven other men from the public eye, but Ebert refused to hide, instead forging what became a new chapter in his career.
His chronicle of his devastating illness won him a new generation of admirers, and his positive attitude never waned or became tinged with bitterness.
Always tech-savvy - he was an early investor in Google - Ebert let the Internet be his voice, and his website, rogerebert (dot) com, had millions of fans.
His Twitter feeds had 827,000 followers, a remarkable achievement for a man whose peer group, on the whole, doesn't even use the social network.
Even more remarkable? Ebert was both widely popular and professionally respected. He had a Pulitzer Prize and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He was the first critic to achieve either, and the same year Ebert won the Pulitzer, 1975, he also launched his television program with Gene Siskel.
As a tandem, Siskel and Ebert reviewed as many as 285 films a year and their program became nearly as influential as the movies themselves.
Two thumbs up.