updated 04/05/2013 AT 2:05 PM ET
•originally published 04/05/2013 AT 2:30 PM ET
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.