Chaz Ebert, whom Roger Ebert married in 1992, after having been a bachelor, was his rock, his foundation.
"How can I begin to tell you about Chaz?" he wrote. "She fills my horizon; she is the great fact of my life; she is the love of my life; she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading.
"If my cancer had come, and it would have, and Chaz had not been there with me, I can imagine a descent into lonely decrepitude. I was very sick. I might have vegetated in hopelessness. This woman never lost her love, and when it was necessary she forced me to want to live. She was always there believing I could do it, and her love was like a wind pushing me back from the grave."
Chaz Ebert was with her husband on Thursday when he died, at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She later issued the following statement, which was posted at http://www.ebertfest.com, the official website for Roger Ebert's Film Festival, taking place April 17-21 this year:
"I am devastated by the loss of my love, Roger — my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. He fought a courageous fight. I've lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world. We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other.
"Roger was a beloved husband, stepfather to Sonia and Jay, and grandfather to Raven, Emil, Mark and Joseph. Just yesterday he was saying how his grandchildren were 'the best things in my life.' He was happy and radiating satisfaction over the outpouring of responses to his blog about his 46th year as a film critic. But he was also getting tired of his fight with cancer, and said if this takes him, he has lived a great and full life.
"We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.
"We are touched by all the kindness and the outpouring of love we've received. And I want to echo what Roger said in his last blog, thank you for going on this journey with us."