Film critic Roger Ebert has died at the age of 70 after a renewed battle with cancer.

Film critic Roger Ebert (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The Chicago Sun-Times,the newspaper Ebert reviewed films for 46 years announced his death.

Just yesterday the Pulitzer Prize winner announced on his blog that he is undergoing radiation treatment for cancer that was discovered after he fractured his hip last year. He can't attend as many movie screenings, he said, so he was planning to scale back.

He called it a "leave of presence."

"It means I am not going away," Ebert, 70, wrote in a blog post late Tuesday. "I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review."

In 1975 Ebert became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and launched a local film review program, “Coming Soon to a Theater Near You” with Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel. That show would become "Sneak Previews" on PBS and later to "At The Movies" during which he started giving films a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, a trademark the pair registered.

“Tall and thin, short and fat. Laurel and Hardy,” Ebert once wrote according to the Sun-Times. “We were parodied on ‘SNL’ and by Bob Hope and Danny Thomas and, the ultimate honor, in the pages of Mad magazine.”

Siskel died in 1999.

A New Partner, New Challenges

Angela Ismailos at the Great Directors Chicago Premiere at Gene Siskel Film Center on January 22, 2011 in Chicago (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Anisma Films

In 2000 Ebert began reviewing films with Richard Roeper, a fellow Sun-Times reviewer. Ebert was forced off the air by cancer in 2006.

In 2002 he had his first surgery to remove a malignant tumor on his thyroid according to the Sun-Times. Three surgeries on his salivary gland followed all the while keeping up his TV and newspaper schedule.


Ebert lost portions of his jaw and the ability to speak, eat and drink after cancer surgeries in 2006. He overcame his health problems to resume writing full-time and eventually even returned to television. In addition to his work for the Sun-Times, Ebert became a prolific user of social media, connecting with fans on Facebook and Twitter.

In early 2011, Ebert launched a new show, "Ebert Presents At the Movies." It had new hosts, but featured Ebert in his own segment, "Roger's Office." He used a chin prosthesis and enlisted voice-over guests to read his reviews.

Survivors, in addition to his wife, include a step-daughter and two step-grandchildren.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.