Beloved U.S. film critic Roger Ebert was set to start hospice care on the day he lost his fight with cancer, according to his wife.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning movie expert revealed he was facing a new battle with the disease on his official blog on Tuesday night (02Apr13), and he passed away on Thursday (04Apr13).

His widow Chaz has opened up about Ebert's final days, confessing he was "getting tired" of his cancer battle and was surrounded by his loved ones as he died.

She also revealed her late husband was preparing to start hospice care on the day he died, and has thanked fans for their outpouring of well wishes following her partner's death.

In a statement, she writes, "I am devastated by the loss of my love, Roger - my husband, my friend, my confidante and oh-so-brilliant partner of over 20 years. He fought a courageous fight. I've lost the love of my life and the world has lost a visionary and a creative and generous spirit who touched so many people all over the world.

"We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other.

"Roger was a beloved husband, stepfather to Sonia and Jay, and grandfather to Raven, Emil, Mark and Joseph. Just yesterday he was saying how his grandchildren were 'the best things in my life'. He was happy and radiating satisfaction over the outpouring of responses to his blog about his 46th year as a film critic. But he was also getting tired of his fight with cancer, and said if this takes him, he has lived a great and full life.

"We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition. We are touched by all the kindness and the outpouring of love we've received. And I want to echo what Roger said in his last blog, thank you for going on this journey with us."

Ebert was first diagnosed with the disease in his thyroid gland in 2002, and doctors discovered the return of cancerous cells in his body late last year (12) when he was hospitalised for a fractured hip.