The world of cinema mourns the death of Roger Ebert today. The most influential film critic and the man, who taught a generation to love “the movies” died yesterday at the age of 70.

Ebert had struggled with cancer of the thyroid and salivary gland previously and it was another bout of the disease, which reportedly took his life in the end. “We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away,” said his wife, Chaz Ebert. “No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”

On Tuesday, Ebert blogged that the cancer had returned following a hip fracture in December and, in his characteristic way of expression, announced that he would be taking “a leave of presence.” In the blog essay, marking his 46th anniversary of becoming the Sun-Times film critic, Ebert wrote “I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers hand-picked and greatly admired by me.”

Roger Ebert, 46th Independent Spirit Awards
After a career spanning four decades, the love of Ebert's fans is his biggest legacy.

 The highly respected and beloved critic continued working right until his death. His many achievements and a number of awards – a Pulitzer and a Webby special achievement award are just part of his collection – are marks of a great career, but the biggest testament to Ebert’s true influence are the scores of fans mourning his passing today.