Ebert funeral held at Holy Name Cathedral

Friends, loved ones, celebrities and members of the public filled Holy Name Cathedral today for the funeral of film critic Roger Ebert.

Ebert the movie critic became as rich and famous as the movie stars, but he remained an everyday man.  His wife, Chaz Ebert, shared with mourners what she loved most about her husband.

“He really was a soldier for social justice,” she said.  “And it didn’t matter to him your race, creed, color, level of ability, sexual orientation — he had a heart big enough to accept and love all.”

The service was open to the public.  Many family friends and colleagues were in attendance, and fans who never met Ebert lined up outside the cathedral hours before the service started.

Ebert passed away last Thursday at the age of 70, after a long battle with cancer.  Days earlier he announced that his cancer had returned.

A film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times for 45 years, Ebert was the first to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism.  His television show with the late Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel made him a household name.

In 2002 Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, then cancer in the salivary glands the following year.  In 2006 doctors removed his jaw, leaving him unable to speak or eat.

Mourners remember Ebert as a critic, a mentor, and a courageous cancer fighter.

A memorial tribute to Roger Ebert will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Theatre.  It is open to the public.

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