Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, died from cancer at the age of 70 on Thursday, April 4 in Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times, where he worked for more than four decades, reported the sad news. "We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away," said his wife, Chaz Ebert. "No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition."
President Barack Obama, as well as director Darren Aronofsky, actor Justin Long and other Hollywood celebrities paid tribute to the famous film critic who expressed his appreciation for great films with his "two thumbs up" line. "Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert. For a generation of Americans -and especially Chicagoans- Roger was the movies," President Obama said in a statement.
"When he didn't like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive - capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical. Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient - continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world. The movies won't be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family," he continued.
Aronofsky tweeted, "We lost a thoughtful writer, i remember my first review from him, pi [i got his and siskel's thumbs] it was a career highlight. #rogerebert." Long, who also took to Twitter to say goodbye to Ebert, said, "Reading Roger Ebert's reviews as a kid was instrumental in determining what I did w my life. He will be sorely missed."
"Roger Ebert was an excellent writer, a gifted artist, and as nice a guy as you'll ever meet. Sad he's gone," Jimmy Kimmel wrote, followed by English author Neil Gaiman who said, "RIP and goodbye Roger Ebert. You sent me such nice emails over the years. I loved your twitter feed, enjoyed your reviews. Thank you."
Other celebrities who expressed their grief on Twitter were William Shatner, Stephen Fry, Rita Wilson, Steve Carell, Dane Cook, Seth Green, Eliza Dushku and Jenny McCarthy.
Ebert had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland. Two days before his death, on April 2, he took to his blog to reveal that his cancer returned following a hip fracture he suffered in December, and would be taking "a leave of presence."
He wrote, "Last year, I wrote the most of my career, including 306 movie reviews, a blog post or two a week, and assorted other articles. I must slow down now, which is why I'm taking what I like to call 'a leave of presence.' "