Roger Ebert, who was so outspoken as a film critic, is now silenced by cancer surgeries on his jaw. But he is not done telling his story, sitting down for an interview with Esquire magazine.
The 67-year-old Ebert has been through a number of surgeries, first to remove his malignant thyroid in 2002, then on his salivary glands in 2003 and his jaw in 2006. Complications from the jaw surgery led to a tracheostomy, which involves making an incision in the windpipe for air to get through. That resulted in the total loss of speech.
Esquire says Ebert uses special text-to-speech software and good old fashioned pen and paper to communicate, which is how he was able to do the Esquire interview. He's also developed his own form of sign language, where he traces letters with his finger on the palm of his hand.
He also continues to write film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times.
He shook his head "no" when asked during the interview if there were any procedues that could restore his speech. And he jokingly wondered, "What else can go wrong?"
The surgeries left Ebert's face disfigured. Undeterred, he posed for a photo for Esquire.