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Cancer Recurrence Forces Roger Ebert To Cut His Workload

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 3, 2013 1:30PM

2013_4_3_ebert.jpg Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert announced on his blog late Tuesday night he was curtailing his writing due to a return of the cancer that has wracked his body for more than a decade.

Ebert, who became the Sun-Times film critic 46 years ago today, was hospitalized last December with a fractured hip that doctors discovered was a recurrence of cancer he's been fighting for more than a decade. Ebert has been receiving radiation treatment for it, which, as he wrote, “has made it impossible for me to attend as many movies as I used to.”

Ebert has always been a prolific writer but 2012 may have been his busiest year behind a keyboard. Ebert wrote 306 movie reviews, 1-2 blog posts a week and other articles for the Sun-Times, his blog and other publications, and has been a prolific presence on social media. Ebert’s already strong writing has been honed to a razor sharpness in the years after he lost his voice to thyroid cancer and has become his primary form of communication. Which is why he’s calling reducing his writing “a leave of presence:” Ebert still has a workload that would break the backs of men half his age. Some of his plans show that, at age 70, he still has a firm grasp of the current media landscape

Ebert wrote that his website will re-launch April 9 with a highly searchable database of his over 40,000 movie reviews and greater interactive capability. Ebert, his wife Chaz and partner Josh Golden are taking ownership of his website and other online ventures of the Ebert brand under the banner Ebert Digital.

Film reviews at the Sun-Times will be split between Ebert, columnist/film critic Richard Roeper and others, while hand-picked film critics including some of his “Far Flung Correspondents” from around the world will write for his website, allowing Ebert the opportunity to cover “only the movies I want to review.” He plans to work closely with filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Steve James and Steve Zaillian on the film adaptation of his 2011 memoir Life Itself, will launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the return of his movie review show At the Movies in upcoming weeks and hinted he has a film version of a video game or mobile app in the works.

Finally, Ebert said he plans to devote some of his writing to dealing with illness.

”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.”