Roger Ebert’s last words

Roger Ebert was an American film critic, journalist, screenwriter and author who died in 2013.

Rodger was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2002. His treatment included a disfiguring operation to remove his lower jaw.
Despite complications from the surgery and the loss of his voice (he used a computerised voice system to communicate) he went on to continue a successful career.

During his life Roger was highly critical of people who believed in creationism or held ‘New Age’ beliefs. He labeled all supernatural claims as woo-woo.

In 2012 Roger fractured his hip (due to metastatic cancer) and then acquired a pneumonia during his hospital visit.
On the day his family arrived to take him home Robert died.

In an article for Esquire Magazine his wife, Chaz Ebert, recounts his final moments:

My daughter and I went to pick him up. When we got there, the nurses were helping him get dressed. He was sitting on his bed, and he looked really happy to be going home. He was smiling. He was sitting almost like Buddha, and then he just put his head down. We thought he was meditating, maybe reflecting on his experiences, grateful to be going home. I don’t remember who noticed first, who checked his pulse… . In the beginning, of course, I was totally freaked out. There was some kind of code thing, and they brought machines in. I was stunned. But as we realized he was transitioning out of this world and into the next, everything, all of us, just went calm. They turned off the machines, and that room was so peaceful. I put on his music that he liked, Dave Brubeck. We just sat there on the bed together, and I whispered in his ear. I didn’t want to leave him. I sat there with him for hours, just holding his hand.

Chaz goes on to tell us Roger’s final words:

The one thing people might be surprised about—Roger said that he didn’t know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note:
“This is all an elaborate hoax.”
I asked him, “What’s a hoax?”
And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.


The singer Clem Snide has recorded a song to capture Roger Ebert’s passing.


Lyrics by Clem Snide:

Did you know these were Roger Ebert’s dying words?
Did you know these were Roger Ebert’s dying words?
It’s all an elaborate hoax
It’s all an elaborate hoax

He looked ever peaceful
He looked ever young
Accepting his moment that soon would be done
He wrote in a note
That he passed to his wife
As he felt him shedding the skin of this life

It said
There is a vastness that can’t be contained
Or described as a thought in the flesh of our brain
It’s everything, everywhere, future and past
Dissolving forever in an eternal flash

Worth no words to say that he loved her so much
His hands seems to pass through whatever it touched
And the credits that rolled listed all of God’s names
As images floated away from their frames
From their frames

Did you know these were Roger Ebert’s dying words?
Did you know these were Roger Ebert’s dying words?
It’s all an elaborate hoax
It’s all an elaborate hoax

Ian Miller

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