Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert died amid plans to "slow down" and review "only the movies I want to review." Two days before his death, Ebert revealed in his Chicago Sun-Times blog "The 'painful fracture' that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer."
Ebert had battled cancer since 2002 when he was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. He had a number of surgeries that eventually removed a portion of his jaw and left him unable to speak, eat or drink. He also suffered a number injuries and complications.
Ebert still found a way to resume writing 5-6 movie reviews a week. He also blogged profusely about a number of topics including religion and God. He noted his enrollment in a Catholic school run by nuns and teachers he described as "New Deal Democrats" that influenced his religious practice.
Ebert said of his faith, "I consider myself Catholic, lock, stock and barrel, with this technical loophole: I cannot believe in God." Despite his Catholic upbringing, Ebert said he has long struggled with God's existance.
In a April 2009 blog, Ebert noted that though his wife's faith was strong, he has found that over time "the reality of God was no longer present in my mind."
"I refuse to call myself a atheist however," he noted in a separate blog. However he expressed some association to the term "secular humanist."
Despite numerous plans to expand his brand, the surgeries, complications and injuries took its toll.
Wife Chaz released a statement saying Ebert was "getting tired of his fight with cancer." She said that he died peacefully Thursday. "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," she reported.
Ebert is survived by Chaz, his step-children Sonia and Jay, and grandchildren Raven, Emil, Mark and Joseph.