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Christopher Hitchens Dead At 62


Writer succumbed to esophageal cancer

Writer, rabblerouser and gay rights supporter Christopher Hitchens died Thursday at the age of 62 from complications of esophageal cancer.

The memoirist and famous atheist had been very publicly battling the disease and made no attempt to apologize for a lifetime of drinking and smoking before it.

"Writing is what's important to me, and anything that helps me do that -- or enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation -- is worth it to me," he said in 2010 during an interview with Charlie Rose. He added that it was "impossible for me to imagine having my life without going to those parties, without having those late nights, without that second bottle."

Despite being an early supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Hitchens was mostly beloved by his readers (he wrote regularly for Vanity Fair and Slate among other publications) and became something of an infamous provocateur to a younger generation for writing pieces on getting a full Brazilian wax and British prep school same-sex action--"the unstated excuse was that this was what one did until the so-far unattainable girls became available," he wrote. It should be noted that some of those school chums went on to be British politicians.

In his 2010 memoir Hitch-22, Hitchens wrote that when his time came, he planned on dying the same way that he lived.

"I personally want to 'do' death in the active and not the passive," he told readers, "and to be there to look it in the eye and be doing something when it comes for me."

Read our essay about Hitch-22.

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