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Roger Ebert taking 'leave of presence' as cancer returns

12:26 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
Roger Ebert with his wife Chaz in 2010 (Getty Images)
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CHICAGO (CNN) -- As he celebrates 46 years with the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday, film critic Roger Ebert also reveals he's going to slow down - or take a "leave of presence," as he calls it.

In an essay on his blog, Ebert explained he's facing a recurrence of cancer. The 70-year-old already lost his voice and much of his jaw after battling thyroid and salivary gland cancer.

Ebert suffered a hip fracture in December, and it recently led to the revelations about cancer, he said. The critic is receiving radiation treatment so he hasn't been able to go to as many movies as he usually does.

Ebert said he typically writes more than 200 reviews a year for the Sun-Times, and last year really ramped it up, producing 306 movie reviews, plus a blog post or two weekly in addition to other articles. He said he's not going away entirely, but he is going to slow down.

"My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me," he said. "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."

When not writing about film, he may "write about what it's like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you," he said. "It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness."

Ebert details a variety of other projects on his plate, but his biggest focus likely will be Ebert Digital, under which he plans to relaunch Rogerebert.com.

"The fact that we're re-launching the site now, in the midst of other challenges, should give you an idea how important Rogerebert.com and Ebert Digital are to (my wife) Chaz and me," Ebert said. "I hope you'll stop by, and look for me. I'll be there."

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