Film critic Roger Ebert reveals cancer has returned in his hip seven years after he lost his lower jaw to the illness

In what the legendary film critic calls 'a leave of presence,' Roger Ebert announced late Tuesday night that he will drastically reduce his workload as reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times due to a cancer diagnosis. 

'The 'painful fracture' that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer. It is being treated with radiation, which has made it impossible for me to attend as many movies as I used to,' Ebert wrote.

Ebert said the paper's print and web content would be maintained largely by former At the Movies co-host Richard Roeper and a handful of other writers.

Film critic Roger Ebert, seen with wife Chaz Ebert, said he must drastically reduce his film reviewing because of a cancer diagnosis

Ebert, 70, stressed this is not the end of his career. Instead, he would focus his critical efforts on a select group of films.

'I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review,' Ebert wrote at his online journal.

He may also: 'write about what it's like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you. 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 also announced he will take ownership of his site,, relaunching it as Ebert Digital.

He would continue work on a 'bio-documentary' about his life with filmmakers Steve James, Steve Zaillian, and Martin Scorsese.

'I am humbled that anyone would even think to do it, but I am also grateful,' he wrote.

Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002. Cancer was found in his salivary glands the next year

Ebert fractured his hip in 2008 and underwent surgery for the problem again in December 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported.

He has spent most months since the surgery at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Ebert has been the Chicago Sun-Times' film critic for 46 years.

In 1975, he became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

He achieved national recognition when he and Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel launched their film review television show.

Siskel passed away in 1999 after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. His seat on the show was taken by Roeper.

Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002. Cancer was found in his salivary glands the next year.

The cancer led to reconstructive surgeries that included the removal of Ebert's lower jaw, leaving him mute and unable to eat solid food in 2006.

Ebert will limit his work to select films he 'wants to review' as well as online essays and a new website called Ebert Digital

Renowned for more than just film criticism, Ebert was named America's Top Pundit by Forbes Magazine in 2007 and received critical acclaim for his 2011 memoir

A profile of Ebert in Esquire magazine revealed his face post-surgery.

'Not a lovely sight. But then I am not a lovely sight, and in a moment I thought, well, what the hell. It's just as well it's out there. That's how I look, after all,' he wrote upon the story's publication.

Since his recovery he has produced an enormous body of work online, both as a critic and in essays at 'Roger Ebert's Journal.'

Those essays led to the 2011 memoir, 'Life Itself.'

He was named Top Pundit in America by Forbes Magazine in 2007 and Person of the Year at the Webby Awards in 2010.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now