About 20 minutes ago, I learned that Roger had passed away.

I’ve lost one of my favorite writers of all time. I’ve lost one of my most trusted, respected, and generous advisors on all subjects that could possibly matter to a modern human being. And I’ve lost a great friend of more than 20 years.

But I still have him in the form of the finest and highest standard of what it means to be a journalist and critic. All my life, Roger Ebert has always been the bar I’ve tried to reach. I never will. But his example has made me stronger through failure.

For years, I resisted the thought of writing down a few notes and organizing what I would say when this day came. I think having such a draft on my Mac would have acknowledged that someday, Roger would be going away.

(Roger released his own statement about his “leave of presence” this week. Prepared and excellent, to the very end. See what I mean about the Ebert Standard?)

I will collect my thoughts and share them tomorrow. Tonight, I’m just going to let myself be sad.