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President Obama mourns Roger Ebert's death

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President Obama publicly mourned the passing of film critic Roger Ebert on Thursday, a fellow Chicagoan who succumbed to cancer Thursday at the age of 70.

“Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “For a generation of Americans — and especially Chicagoans — Roger was the movies. When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive — capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical.”

SEE RELATED: Famed movie critic Roger Ebert dies at age 70

Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Mr. Obama said Mr. Ebert was “as productive as he was resilient — continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world.”

“The movies won’t be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with [his wife] Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family,” he said.

The Chicago Sun-Times, where Mr. Ebert worked for years, announced his death Thursday. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and, through operations on his thyroid, salivary glands and chin — and even after losing the ability to eat, drink and speak — he continued to write reviews and even published a cookbook on meals that could be made with a rice cooker.

“When I am writing, my problems become invisible, and I am the same person I always was,” he told Esquire magazine in 2010. “All is well. I am as I should be.”

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Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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