(CBS) - Roger Ebert, the most famous and most popular film reviewer of his time who became the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for movie criticism and, on his long-running TV program, wielded America's most influential thumb, has died at age 70.
Ebert, who had been a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, died early Thursday afternoon at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, his office said. He had announced on his blog Wednesday that he was undergoing radiation treatment after a recurrence of cancer.
Ebert was known for his thumbs-up, thumbs-down TV reviews that influenced moviegoers across the nation.
He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 and later had surgery for cancer of the salivary gland. He lost his chin and his ability to speak. But he later resumed writing full-time and eventually even returned to television.
In 1975, Ebert became the first movie reviewer to get the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. That same year he also launched a television program, "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You," with Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel on WTTW-Channel 11.