Ebert, 70, wrote on his Chicago Sun-Times blog that he would be taking a “leave of presence” to focus on his health and an assortment of personal work projects.
Ebert has had recurring health problems since 2002 when he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. “What in the world is a leave of presence?” Ebert said. “It means I am not going away.”
He decided to scale back work after learning a “painful fracture” that was making it difficult for him to walk was actually cancer. He said he is undergoing radiation treatments that impede his ability to attend as many movie screenings as he previously had.
Ebert has been a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967 and writes more than 200 internationally syndicated film reviews per year. Last year, he broke a personal record of writing more than 306 movie reviews along with an assortment of blogposts, articles and tweets.
The newspaper’s reviews will now be done by a crew of writers handpicked by Ebert. “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,” he said.
He will also continue writing about things outside the world of film. “So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness,” Ebert said. “On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.”
Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 and underwent a series of surgeries related to the illness. Complications following a 2006 operation left Ebert unable to eat solid foods or speak and he instead uses a computer to communicate.
Read more at The Guardian.