One day on the heels of the tragic news that legendary Chicago-based film critic Roger Ebert lost his battle with cancer at the age of 70, the city and nation Ebert called home have offered up an outpouring of condolences and memories of the icon.
Ebert, who was a force on social media and embraced blogging long before many of his fellow newspaper colleagues, befriended Ervin in the years following his initial cancer surgery. With Ebert unable to speak after losing the lower portion of his jaw to cancer, he and Ervin maintained their contact primarily through email and social media.
Tuesday evening, Chaz Ebert said in a statement on her husband's passing that she is "devastated by the loss of my love, Roger -- my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. … 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."
Chaz continued, "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."
Meanwhile, others who knew and worked with Roger Ebert through the years have offered some beautiful tributes to their friend, mentor and inspiration:
From Time Out Chicago (ex-Sun-Times)'s Robert Feder: "Whenever I told someone I worked for the Sun-Times, invariably the first question that followed was whether I knew Roger Ebert. He personified the paper and was its heart and soul. For at least the last quarter-century, no one came close to his stature as its biggest draw and brightest star. First and foremost he thought of himself as a newspaperman — specifically a Chicago newspaperman."
From the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips: "Writing about the movies means you get to write about life itself. Roger embraced that challenge, and after he got sick he wrote so well about so much more than the movies, he became a hero."
From The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin: "Ebert’s writing was a model for my own: engaged, friendly, and casual, but with a deep understanding of and reverence for the art and history of film, and pop-culture as a whole."
From WBEZ (ex-Sun-Times)'s Jim DeRogatis: "[I]f you read him or watched him (really watched him) on television, you pretty much did know him. There wasn’t a significant difference between the public and private Ebert. What you saw was what you got."
From Kartemquin Films: "He was a visionary, a champion and a friend."
Ebert's Sun-Times colleagues also offered up their remembrances in a touching video and his passing also got The Onion treatment with an appropriately titled "Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence As 'A Triumph'" feature.
Read below for more Chicagoans' Twitter reactions to Ebert's death.
Flowers left by a visitor sit by the bronze plaque set in the sidewalk in front of Roger Ebert's boyhood home in Urbana, Ill., Thursday, April 4, 2013. (AP Photo/David Mercer)
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