Beloved film critic Roger Ebert was remembered by friends and family members during a memorial service in his native Illinois on Monday (08Apr13).
The 70 year old lost his longtime battle with cancer last week (04Apr13), and, to celebrate his life, mourners gathered at the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago to pay their final respects.
State governor Pat Quinn, city mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Ebert's wife Chaz Hammelsmith all spoke at the funeral, as did Reverend Jesse Jackson's son Jonathan, who read aloud statements from his father and filmmaker Spike Lee.
Remembering her late husband, Hammelsmith told the mourners, "This morning I didn't want to get out of bed. I wanted to pretend this wasn't the day of his funeral. And then it felt like he was there with me."
She added, "One of the things that I loved about Roger - besides the fact that he had the biggest heart I've ever seen - is that he really was a soldier for social justice. And it didn't matter to him your race, creed, colour, level of ability, sexual orientation. He had a heart big enough to accept and love all."
The writer will also be feted at the Chicago Theater on Thursday (11Apr13) with musical performances and clips from his Tv show, Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies.