Popular film critic and television personality Roger Ebert has been forced to take what he calls a “leave of presence” — not quite a leave of absence — from his writing career because of the debilitating effects of his battle with cancer, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In a note to his readers in his blog on the newspaper’s website, Ebert wrote:
“Last year, I wrote the most of my career, including 306 movie reviews, a blog post or two a week, and assorted other articles. I must slow down now, which is why I’m taking what I like to call ‘a leave of presence.’”
Ebert assured his fans that he is not going to disappear. He would, however, be turning over some duties to “a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What’s more, I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.”
The veteran critic added: “The immediate reason for my ‘leave of presence’ is my health. The ‘painful fracture’ that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer. It is being treated with radiation, which has made it impossible for me to attend as many movies as I used to.”
Ebert also unveiled plans for a new and improved Rogerebert.com website.