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Stars gather in Chicago for Roger Ebert memorial

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Apr 12, 2013 | 4:04am EDT

Stars including John Cusack and his sister Joan gathered to honour the life and work of beloved U.S. film critic Roger Ebert at a memorial service in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday (11Apr13). The 70 year old lost his battle with cancer earlier this month (04Apr13), and members of Hollywood's elite descended on the Chicago Theater for Roger Ebert: A Celebration of Life, hosted by his widow Chaz Ebert. During the memorial service, Chicago native Joan Cusack read out a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama who remembered Ebert as a "cultural leader." The actress' brother John joined her onstage to share their fond childhood memories of watching the critic's television show, Ebert and Siskel, which was co-hosted by Gene Siskel and famously gave films a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating. The High Fidelity star said, "He was always supportive of artists. He always gave you a fair shake. Chicago's lost a great icon but he'll always be with us." Ebert will also be honoured at Ebertfest, his annual film festival in Champaign, Illinois, which commences next Wednesday (17Apr13). His private funeral took place in Chicago on Monday (08Apr13).

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