EDIT: Not long after this was written, Roger Ebert passed away. He was 70 years old and completely awesome. We’ll remember him fondly for his writing, especially Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which if you’ve never seen, should be something that you do tonight. RIP Roger Ebert.
Roger Ebert has been through some shit when it comes to his health, having lost his lower jaw and salivary glands from repeated surgeries for complications of his thyroid cancer several years back. He’s since revealed that the hip fracture he recently suffered has been diagnosed as cancer and he plans to take a “leave of presence” from the industry.
From The Chicago Sun Times:
Of course, there will be some changes. The immediate reason for my “leave of presence” is my health. The “painful fracture” that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer. It is being treated with radiation, which has made it impossible for me to attend as many movies as I used to. I have been watching more of them on screener copies that the studios have been kind enough to send to me. My friend and colleague Richard Roeper and other critics have stepped up and kept the newspaper and website current with reviews of all the major releases. So we have and will continue to go on.
At this point in my life, in addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it’s like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you. It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.
Ebert’s letter was much longer than that and worth a read. Cancer is such a terrible disease that I can’t believe we haven’t found a cure to yet – we really need to. Here’s hoping Ebert is able to overcome this second battle with the illness and get back to what he does best: reviewing movies in ways that are sometimes funny, sometimes awful and always a great read.