Roger Ebert Dies, 70

Legendary Film Critic Had Been Battling Cancer

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 70-years-old.

The Chicago Sun-Times, the publication for which Ebert had served as film critic for 46 years, first reported his death.

Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is arguably best known for his television appearances with fellow film critic Gene Siskel. They first appeared on PBS' Sneak Previews from 1975 until 1982, when the pair created At the Movies, a Tribune Entertainment show that they hosted until 1986. They left to launch Siskel and Ebert and the Movies for Disney's Buena Vista Television, where they coined the their "thumbs up/thumbs down" rating. Siskel died in 1999.

On Wednesday, Ebert posted a lengthy blog on the Sun-Timestitled "A Leave of Presence," in which he explained that as his cancer had returned, he would focus on his health and personal projects while cutting down on film reviewing. He had also planned on relaunching his personal website under the name Ebert Digital on April 9 and said his annual film festival, Ebertfest, would go forth on April 17.

President Barack Obama and the First Lady released a statement mourning the death of Ebert, a fellow Chicagoan.

“Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert,” they said in a statement. “For a generation of Americans - and especially Chicagoans - Roger was the movies.  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…”