The Washington Times - April 4, 2013, 05:48PM

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.”

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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.”