07:27 PM EDT 08/23/2014
Originally posted 04/05/2013 02:30PM
If it seems like a friend has died, that's because Roger Ebert made us feel like we knew him. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose columns read like letters from a pal. He sat next to Gene Siskel on Sneak Previews and At the Movies, but it felt like he was just on the other end of our couches.
He democratized film criticism, fought passionately for better movies and showed us what living – and dying – with grace really meant.
If that's not a friend, then maybe I'm unclear on the definition.
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!