Before his death on Thursday after a reoccurrence of cancer, Roger Ebert forged a reputation as a stellar film critic. His honest, brash style made his reviews thoroughly entertaining, and despite his unflinching style, he won a lot of friends in the business.

His fellow Sun-Times columnist, Richard Roeper, has been talking to Entertainment weekly about his friend and colleague. He says, of Ebert’s death, “it still came as a shock, and when the moment comes, it still comes far too soon, and I feel it first and foremost as a loss of my friend, a wonderful friend and family man.” With decades in the game under his belt, Ebert became one of the most film-savvy people in the business. According to Roeper, “he had a scholar’s knowledge of film and this amazing capacity to discuss films in the most minute, sophisticated detail, but he also had this very every-man appeal, and he never wrote down or talked down to movie-goers. I think a lot of people who saw him when he first started coming on television [would] see him and Gene Siskel and they’d say, ‘Hey, they don’t look like movie stars. They look just like regular people. They look like my uncle or my dad or my grandpa.’ He had that universal appeal where you just felt like you were having a conversation with a friend.”

Ebert’s take on modern films saw him become somewhat of a cult figure. He would draw on fantastic metaphors to talk about films he thought of as awful, and appeared to have more fun when describing bad films that good ones.

Roger EbertRoger Ebert chatting to Jacqueline Bisset