Roger Ebert, perhaps the most well-known film reviewer in history, has announced that he will be taking “a leave of presence.” Though Ebert stressed that this does not mean he will quit writing for good, it does mean that his output will slow significantly.
Ebert made the announcement in a post to his Chicago Sun-Times blog. The reason for his leave was also revealed in the post – his cancer has returned. He is currently being treated with radiation therapy. Ebert was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002, and lost his ability to speak after complications from surgery in 2006.
Ebert used his post to thank his colleagues and everyone who has helped him in his 46-year career. He has stated that he will now leave most of the reviewing work to his hand-picked reviewer colleagues. Ebert expressed excitement that he will be reviewing only the movies he wants to. He may also begin writing about his health troubles. From the post:
At this point in my life, in addition to writing about movies, I 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.
Ebert’s film review website, rogerebert.com, is being re-launched with a new design the writer states is “highly interactive and searchable.”