URBANA, Ill. (AP) — When Roger Ebert died, he was celebrated as a citizen of Chicago and the world.
But all his life he remained a proud native of downstate Urbana and equally proud graduate of his hometown school, the University of Illinois.
People in town say Ebert stayed important to them.
Micheal Esteves lives in Ebert's childhood home and says people regularly stop for a look. Ebert visited him, too.
Students who work at the Daily Illini newspaper on campus say Ebert remained connected to them. He raised money to help keep the cash-strapped paper open and helped kids who worked there.
Writer Will Leitch says Ebert befriended him as a student and helped him get work reviewing movies.
And through Sunday, the Ebertfest film festival named in Ebert's honor continues in Champaign.