President Obama led a chorus of voices paying tribute to legendary film critic Roger Ebert, who died Thursday at the age of 70 after a prolonged battle with cancer.
The fellow Chicagoan and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer “was the movies,” Obama said. “The movies won’t be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with (Ebert’s wife) Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family,” Obama said.
Director Martin Scorsese, who is executive-producing a documentary on Ebert, called the passing “an incalculable loss for movie culture and for film criticism. And it’s a loss for me personally.”
The statement continued: “Roger was always supportive, he was always right there for me when I needed it most, when it really counted — at the very beginning, when every word of encouragement was precious; and then again, when I was at the lowest ebb of my career, there he was, just as encouraging, just as warmly supportive. … Really, Roger was my friend. It’s that simple. Few people I’ve known in my life loved or cared as much about movies.