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April 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The death of Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert has elicited a flood of heartfelt tributes — from President Obama to teenage moviegoers. Virtually every film critic submitted a eulogy, many of them describing how Ebert had been their inspiration for becoming a critic to begin with. As the New York Times‘s A.O. Scott tweeted: “We are all in his shadow and in his debt.” But no remarks were more poignant than those of his wife Chaz, who said in a statement: “I’ve lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world. We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other.” Ebert, who died on Thursday after a long battle with cancer at age 70, had only the day before written optimistically about his future plans but said he would be cutting back on his reviews after learning that he had again been stricken with cancer. He would be, he said, taking a “leave of presence.” Wrote Chaz: He was happy and radiating satisfaction over the outpouring of responses to his blog about his 46th year as a film critic. But he was also getting tired of his fight with cancer, and said if this takes him, he has lived a great and full life. “We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition. We are touched by all the kindness and the outpouring of love we’ve received. And I want to echo what Roger said in his last blog, thank you for going on this journey with us.” On the 20th anniversary of their marriage last July, Ebert wrote that throughout his punishing illness, “This woman never lost her love, and when it was necessary she forced me to want to live. She was always there believing I could do it, and her love was like a wind forcing me back from the grave.”