Roger Ebert Cuts Film Review Workload After Cancer Returns

This is just awful news.

Roger Ebert announced late Tuesday night that he is stepping back from some duties as the Chicago Sun-Times’ film critic after a recurrence of cancer.

Calling the move a “leave of presence,” Ebert wrote on his online journal: “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.”

The 70-year-old critic, one of Chicago’s most widely embraced figures, wrote that he is “not going away” but will be relying more on others to review films, such as his Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper.

“I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review,” Ebert wrote, noting that he also “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.”

Here is his blog post about it.