Roger Ebert's casket is carried into Holy Name Cathedral for his funeral service on April 8 in Chicago.(Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)
Roger Ebert was rarely at a loss for words, even when cancer robbed him of his voice.
And neither were fans and admirers who gathered at Holy Name Cathedral this morning in rainy Chicago to pay their respects to the prodigious film critic, 70, who died on Thursday after losing his life to the disease he once conquered.
Chaz, Ebert's lawyer wife of more than 20 years who helped her husband become a household brand online, in print and on TV, wore a black veil over her face as she took part in a casket procession into the church. Also attending was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
First in line to pay his respects, the Chicago Tribune reported, was Matt Fagerholm, 27, a critic for HollywoodChicago.com. "He was inspirational, both in terms of his depth of knowledge about film and his wisdom about life.
Regular folk also attended, including Roger Duffy, 67, a retired security guard and lifetime Chicago resident who would spy Ebert around town now and then. "Everybody has a story about Roger. He was a real nice guy, he'd always talk to you."
A memorial service is planned for Thursday at the Chicago Theater. The public is invited, but seating must be reserved in advance.