The news of Ebert's latest medical adventure came courtesy of the Pulitzer Prize winner's wife Chaz, who posted a letter to the Sun-Times critic's Web site.
"Roger was making good progress and was ready to go to his next phase of treatment, which would have been physical therapy to regain his strength," she writes. "Well last night Roger had minor surgery, so today, as you can imagine, he feels a bit less cheerful. The doctors remain optimistic about his recovery, however, and say that the physical therapy will be delayed for only a few days."
Ebert has been battling cancer for a number of years. He had surgery on June 16 to remove a growth from his salivary gland. Just over two weeks later, he had to have another operation after a blood vessel burst near the site of the first surgery.
"As I said before, the most frustrating aspect is that his progress is not always linear," Chaz Ebert writes. "But the doctors told us right from the start to expect this non-linear recovery. 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. Darn that surgery! Please excuse me if I don't sound like my usual cheerleader self, but if you had seen him last week, even yesterday, when he was doing so well."
She adds, "We were secretly back to using his computer. He wanted to surprise everyone with messages."
She notes that his vital signs are all stable.
Film critic at the Sun-Times since 1966, Ebert is probably best known for his series of syndicated review programs, beginning with "Sneak Previews," which co-starred Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel. The pair went on to do "Siskel & Ebert at the Movies," launching the popular "thumbs up, thumbs down" format. Siskel died of cancer in 1999 and, after a lengthy search, fellow Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper was brought in as Ebert's co-host.
In Roger Ebert's absence, an assortment of replacement critics have been recruited to join Roeper, including Jay Leno and Kevin Smith.