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Roger Ebert Gets His Voice Back


In 2001, film critic Roger Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and over the years has gone through multiple surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy to battle the illness, including having a significant portion of his jaw removed. As a result, he can no longer eat or drink (he’s fed through a feeding tube) and cannot speak. A few weeks ago, Ebert was photographed and interviewed by Esquire, his familiar face having changed so much that many considered the image to be shocking. Ebert appeared on “Oprah” today with his wife of 18 years, Chaz, and the interview was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Oprah asked the legend whether he remembers what the last words he spoke were, to which Ebert replied that he didn’t because he didn’t know at the time that they would be his last words. He said he hoped, however, that his last words were “I love you” to his wife, who Oprah credited with inspiring Ebert to go on living despite his very difficult circumstances. In the clip above, Ebert and Chaz hear, for the first time, a computerized voice (Ebert “speaks” by typing into a computer which says his words out loud) that has been created to match Ebert’s own voice, before his illness resulted in his loss of speech.

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