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Roger Ebert undergoes minor surgery

The film critic is ‘making good progress’ after a cancerous growth is removed.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Film critic Roger Ebert was recovering from minor surgery related to his battle with cancer, his wife said in statement posted on his Web site Monday.

Chaz Ebert wrote that "last night Roger had minor surgery" but "doctors remain optimistic about his recovery."

Ebert's wife added that Sunday's surgery would delay the start of his physical therapy for only a few days, but did not provide details on the procedure. A message seeking further comment was left at the offices of the movie review program "Ebert & Roeper."

Ebert, famous for his "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" critiques, had surgery June 16 to remove a cancerous growth on his salivary gland. He also had emergency surgery July 1 after a blood vessel burst near the site of the operation.

Chaz Ebert said her husband's vital signs were stable and noted he had been "making good progress and was ready to go to his next phase of treatment" before Sunday's surgery.

"But the doctors told us right from the start to expect this non-linear recovery," she said. "They said that there will bumps in the road along the way that seem like setbacks, and then he will reach a point where he will make a rapid recovery."

The 64-year-old had undergone cancer surgery three times before the June operation _ once in 2002 to remove a malignant tumor on his thyroid gland and twice on his salivary gland the next year.

Ebert has been a film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1975, the same year he teamed up with Gene Siskel of the rival Chicago Tribune to launch their movie-review show. Siskel died in 1999. Ebert has co-hosted the show with fellow Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper since 2000.