In a post to his blog at the Chicago Sun-Times, he announced he will be taking what he termed a “leave of presence," which will see him cut back on the number of reviews he writes. The 70-year-old wrote that a “leave of presence” means he is not going away, but reducing his work load.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Ebert lost his voice to cancer in his thyroid and salivary glands, but was able to build his brand as a reviewer by taking to the internet. He recently suffered a painful hip fracture that he revealed is related to the return of cancer.
He may also begin writing more personal stories about the experience of fighting the disease. He is currently undergoing radiation treatment.
“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,” he explained on his blog. “On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness."
Ebert celebrated 46 years of reviewing movies for the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday.
He said he has plans to revamp his website and will continue to host the annual Ebertfest film festival in Champaign, Ill. He will also launch a Kickstarter campaign in two weeks aimed at bringing back his syndicated TV show At the Movies, which has been on hiatus since December 2011.
Ebert wrote more than 300 film reviews last year and earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1975, making him the first film critic to win the award.