I love this man.
He helped teach me how to think.
He helped me learn to see more things that were right in front of me.
He taught me how to express constructive criticism.
His written reviews are models of clear writing and intelligent analysis.
If you have not seen Roger Ebert in a while, please know that the above pictures are actual photos of Roger Ebert after papillary thyroid cancer surgery and removal of part of his jaw.
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Here is a 2008 excerpt from Wikipedia, summarizing his medical issues:
Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2002. Fortunately, in February 2002, surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital were able to successfully remove the cancer with clean margins. He later underwent surgery in 2003 for cancer in his salivary gland and in December of 2003, he underwent a four-week course of radiation treatment as a follow-up to the surgery on his salivary gland, which altered his voice slightly. As he battled the illness, Ebert continued to be a dedicated critic to film, not missing a single opening while undergoing treatment.
He underwent further surgery Friday, June 16, 2006, just two days before his 64th birthday, to remove cancer near his right jaw and a section of jaw bone.
On July 1, Ebert was hospitalized in serious condition after his carotid artery burst near the surgery site and he “came within a breath of death”. He later learned that the burst was likely a side effect of his treatment, which involved neutron beam radiation. He was subsequently kept bed-ridden to prevent further damage to the scarred vessels in his neck while he slowly recovered from multiple surgeries and the rigorous treatment regimen. At one point, his status was so precarious that Ebert had a tracheostomy placed in his neck to reduce his work of breathing while he recovered.
Ebert filmed enough TV programs with his co-host Richard Roeper to keep him on the air for several weeks. However, his extended convalescence has necessitated a series of “guest critics” to co-host with Roeper, including Jay Leno (a good friend to both Ebert and Roeper), Kevin Smith, John Ridley, Toni Senecal, Michael Phillips, Aisha Tyler, Fred Willard, Anne Thompson, A. O. Scott, Mario Van Peebles, George Pennacchio, and John Mellencamp.
An update from Ebert on October 11, 2006 confirmed his bleeding problems had resolved. He was undergoing rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago due to lost muscle mass, and later underwent further rehabilitation at the Pritikin Center in Florida.”
On 7 May, 2007, Roger Ebert reported on his website that he had received a bouquet of flowers from Rob Schneider, with a note signed, “Your least favorite actor, Rob Schneider.” Ebert saw the flowers as a kind gesture and publicly thanked Schneider, and said that Schneider may have made a bad film, but he was not a bad man. Ebert also expressed hope that Schneider would make a film that Ebert finds wonderful.
After a three-month absence, the first movie he reviewed was The Queen. Ebert followed through with his promise and made his first public appearance since the summer of 2006 at Ebertfest on April 25, 2007. He was unable to speak but communicated through his wife, Chaz, through the use of written notes. His opening words to the crowd of devout fans at the festival were a reference to the film he co-wrote with Russ Meyer, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls: “It’s my happening and it freaks me out.” Most fans and journalists believed the remark to be a reference to the dramatic rise in popularity of Ebertfest over the past few years. Others believed the line to be a subtle reference to how, instead of acting as a critic, he had actually become the protagonist, to the degree where it ‘freaked’ him out — a sardonic and endearing reference typical of Ebert’s writing style and spoken commentary.
Ebert underwent further surgery on January 24, 2008, this time in Houston, to address the complications from his previous surgeries. A statement afterwards from Ebert and his wife indicated that “the surgery went well, and the Eberts look forward to giving you more good news …”, but on April 1, the 41st anniversary as film critic at the Sun-Times, Ebert announced that there had been further complications and his speech had not been restored. His love for movies and writing remain intact. He wrote, “I am still cancer-free, and not ready to think about more surgery at this time. I should be content with the abundance I have.” His columns resumed shortly after the April 23 opening of his annual film festival at the University of Illinois. In a response to a comment on his blog in August, 2008, he all but conceded that he would never regain his speaking voice.
In an interview with WLS-TV in Chicago, he said, “I was told photos of me in this condition would attract the gossip papers — so what?” When asked by the Sun-Times in an April 23 article about his decision to return to the limelight, Ebert remarked, “We spend too much time hiding illness.”
Fans at his website have remarked his public appearances have been inspirational to cancer victims and survivors around the country.
In 2006, Roger Ebert took this portrait of himself the day before he went into surgery:
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Roger and his wife Chaz:
Roger, I am grateful to you for giving so much, so often, to so many of us. I wish you improved health and continued happiness.
Mark, aka “OneMoreOption”
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