Roger Ebert apologizes for Ryan Dunn death tweet

Jun 21, 2011 at 1:40 p.m. ET

Roger Ebert has apologized for using the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn as an occasion for a drinking and driving PSA on Twitter.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert is sorry for writing an inflammatory message about the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn on Twitter yesterday.

Ebert's comment angered Dunn's BFF Bam Margera, who struck back with a vengeance.

Now the famed film critic is saying he's sorry for making the driving drunk part of the comment -- but still says Dunn had no business driving as fast as he seems to have been, regardless of the state of his sobriety.

"To begin with, I offer my sympathy to Ryan Dunn's family and friends, and to those of Zachary Hartwell, who also died in the crash. I mean that sincerely. It is tragic to lose a loved one," Ebert wrote on his website.

"I also regret that my tweet about the event was considered cruel. It was not intended as cruel. It was intended as true. I have no way of knowing if Ryan Dunn was drunk at the time of his death."

"I don't know what happened in this case, and I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly."

"I do know that nobody has any business driving on a public highway at 110 mph, as some estimated -- or fast enough, anyway, to leave a highway and fly through 40 yards of trees before crashing."

"That is especially true if the driver has had three shots and three beers. Two people were killed. What if the car had crashed into another car?"

While we won't know if Ryan Dunn died as the result of drunk driving until the results of his autopsy come back, he was photographed drinking with friends in a bar shortly before the crash and witnesses in the bar where Dunn was allegedly partying say they saw him drink at least three beers and three shots within a four-hour period.

Roger Ebert has had his own struggles with alcohol. He is a self-identified alcoholic who quit drinking in 1979 and has regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings ever since. He lost his voice after a bout with thyroid cancer, which also resulted in the removal of part of his jaw and facial disfigurement.

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