Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic whose thumbs-up rating system long preceded Facebook's, died today after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70.
Ebert's death came only a day after he announced the cancer that had taken his jaw and his voice, but never his ability to write wittily and proficiently, had returned and he would be cutting back on his columns. But he had a slew of exciting plans including launching a Kickstarter campaign to bring back his beloved At The Movies show and working on a variety of other projects. "And gamers beware, I am even thinking about a movie version of a video game or mobile app. Once completed, you can engage me in debate on whether you think it is art." (For more on his debate with gamers, click here.)
"I must slow down now, which is why I'm taking what I like to call 'a leave of presence,'" he wrote. "What in the world is a leave of presence? It means I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review."
On Twitter, people immediately began tweeting out their favorite reviews by Ebert and condolences.
We're devastated to hear of Roger Ebert's passing. There will never be another like him. RIP, Mr. Ebert— TribecaFilm Festival (@TribecaFilmFest) April 4, 2013
When I was 19, Roger Ebert acted like he had all the time in the world to answer my APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX questions. The best, kindest dude.— Holly Anderson (@HollyAnderson) April 4, 2013
When I was 14, I went up to @ebertchicago at a conference & asked him to lunch. Instead, he took ME and is the reason I'm now in journalism— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) April 4, 2013
R.I.P. Roger Ebert. It was a privilege to interact with you. Thank you for the support, the criticism, and the true love for the movies.— Diablo Cody (@diablocody) April 4, 2013
Forgive us our new avatar for a while as we mourn one of the greatest writers we've ever known.— Suntimes (@Suntimes) April 4, 2013
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 (@jimmykimmel) April 4, 2013
Everybody watch a movie tonight. A good movie. #riprogerebert— Jason Gay (@jasonWSJ) April 4, 2013
[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user Steve Rhodes]