For many of us who grew up eagerly awaiting the Saturday showing of Siskel and Ebert — and who later came to respect Roger Ebert as a whip-smart cultural critic and master of the internet — his death yesterday was a major loss. It's a less wonderful planet because he's not on it.
Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert, Roger's beloved wife of 20 years who referred to him as "my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner", spoke about the end of his life. "We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away," she said in a statement. "No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition."
She went on:
He fought a courageous fight. I've lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world. 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.
Damn, what a romance. We should all be so lucky.
It's cool when people you respect from afar actually seem worthy of that respect when you learn more about them. RIP, Roger Ebert.