MEXICO CITY - Governor Pat Quinn issued the following statement Thursday afternoon from Mexico, where he is on a trade mission:
“I was very saddened to hear today that my good friend Roger Ebert has passed away. I – along with the people of Illinois – offer condolences to his wife Chaz, with whom I had the privilege of spending some time just last week.
“Even in recent years when illness robbed him of his ability to speak, the mere act of raising his thumb brought auditoriums full of people to their feet in applause. One of my best memories was getting a ‘thumbs-up’ from Roger in 2011 when I proclaimed “Roger Ebert Day” at Ebertfest in Champaign.
“Roger Ebert was Everyman with a cinematographer’s eye and an artist’s passion. His unique gift was the ability to communicate with everyday people about all kinds of movies and ultimately, the real values of life. He was one of our best-known and most respected journalists, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize as a Chicago Sun-Times film critic, and a proud and generous graduate of the University of Illinois where he began his journalism career at the Daily Illini.
“The whole state joins me in mourning his passing. Roger Ebert was a great man. No doubt Gene Siskel is saving him a seat in the balcony upstairs.”