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Christopher Hitchens obituaries

We will be publishing a selection of Christopher Hitchens obituaries, and posting them all in this one thread. So please keep checking back, as it will be updated from time to time over the next few days.


Zmarł Christopher Hitchenes
Autor tekstu: Andrzej Koraszewski
Racjonalista (Polish)
Wczoraj zmarł w wielu 62 lat Christopher Hitchens, jeden z czterech jeźdźców Nowego Ateizmu. Wspaniały dziennikarz, wieloletni korespondent, głównie z krajów Bliskiego Wschodu, niezrównany krytyk religii. Jego książka bóg nie jest wielki. O trucicielskiej sile religii długo będzie należeć będzie do kanonu lektur obowiązkowych dla ludzi szukających odpowiedzi na fundamentalne pytania o znaczenie religii w życiu społecznym. Był fenomenalnym mówcą i dyskutantem. Podczas swojej długiej walki z chorobą pisał, uczestniczył w dyskusjach i przekonywał, że zbliżająca się śmierć nie jest niczym przerażającym.
Note that the "Read more" link below also includes links to Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry videos subtitled in Polish
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Outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens dies at 62
The Irish Times
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, the British-born journalist and atheist intellectual who made the United States his home and backed the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, has died aged 62.

Hitchens died in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of cancer of the oesophagus.

Vanity Fair magazine, of which Hitchens was a contributing editor, described him as an “incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant”.

A heavy smoker (he reputedly ploughed through about 130 a day) and a drinker of gargantuan quantities of red wine and whiskey, Hitchens cut short a book tour for his memoir Hitch-22 last year to undergo chemotherapy. Recently he gave up treatment and entered a hospice in Texas.

As a journalist, war correspondent and literary critic, Hitchens carved out a reputation for barbed repartee, scathing critiques of public figures and a fierce intelligence.
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Christopher Hitchens: The death of a free-thinker
Patrick Cockburn
Belfast Telegraph
Patrick Cockburn pays his tribute to the wit, warmth, and humanity of his friend Christopher Hitchens

I first met Christopher when we wrote a column together in Cherwell, the student newspaper, in Oxford in 1969.

From the beginning I found him intelligent, quick-witted, funny, engaging and warm-hearted. In the 40 years or more that followed, he became a central part of the landscape of my life.

But my strongest memories of Christopher do not date from when we were students in the 1960s or young journalists in London in the 1970s. They revolve rather around the relations between Christopher and my son Henry who, at the age of 20, almost drowned trying to swim Newhaven estuary in mid-winter in 2002. He was rescued by some fishermen, taken by the police to hospital and diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia.

Christopher was Henry's godfather – though how this had happened, given Christopher's atheistic beliefs, was something of a mystery. But from the time Henry became ill and started his long miserable years of confinement in hospitals interrupted by disappearances and police searches, Christopher was assiduous in keeping in touch with him.

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Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011
Xeni Jardin
BoingBoing

Journalist, pundit, author, and gentleman philosopher Christopher Hitchens has died at 62, after a long battle with esophegeal cancer.

Obituaries: Vanity Fair, NPR, CNN, WaPo, Reuters, LAT. Graydon Carter's memorial is the one to read.

Photo: For the release of his memoir "Hitch 22," Hitchens poses for a portrait outside his hotel in New York, June 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Continue to BoingBoing


Christopher Hitchens dead at 62

Anthony Boadle
National Post


Author Christopher Hitchens ponders a question following an interview in Montreal Sept. 23, 2008.
John Mahoney / Postmedia News files

British-born journalist and atheist intellectual Christopher Hitchens, who made the United States his home and backed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, died on Thursday at the age of 62.

Hitchens died in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of cancer of the esophagus, Vanity Fair magazine said.

“Christopher Hitchens – the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant – died today at the age of 62,” Vanity Fair said.

A heavy smoker and drinker, Hitchens cut short a book tour for his memoir “Hitch 22″ last year to undergo chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer.

As a journalist, war correspondent and literary critic, Hitchens carved out a reputation for barbed repartee, scathing critiques of public figures and a fierce intelligence.
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Christopher Hitchens memoir to be published early next year
Alison Flood
The Guardian
Entitled Mortality and based on his columns for Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens' final memoir will be published by Atlantic in the new year

Christopher Hitchens' memoir will be out in January. Photograph: theatlantic.com

A final memoir by the late author and polemicist Christopher Hitchens will be released early next year, his publisher said this morning.

Hitchens, who died yesterday aged 62, wrote a series of columns for Vanity Fair about his battle with oesophageal cancer, chronicling how he moved "from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady".

The forthcoming memoir will be based on the essays, said Atlantic Books, and will be called Mortality. The book had been planned for some time, said a spokesperson.

"Before I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer a year and a half ago, I rather jauntily told the readers of my memoirs that when faced with extinction I wanted to be fully conscious and awake, in order to 'do' death in the active and not the passive sense," Hitchens wrote in his final column for Vanity Fair. "However, one thing that grave illness does is to make you examine familiar principles and seemingly reliable sayings. And there's one that I find I am not saying with quite the same conviction as I once used to: In particular, I have slightly stopped issuing the announcement that 'Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger'."

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Photos: In Memoriam of Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011
Alyssa Bereznak and Juli Weiner
Vanity Fair
Beginning with his roiling soixante-huitard days—picketing and protesting; joining up with the Labour Club at Oxford—to his raucous and even law-breaking assignments for this magazine, Christopher Hitchens’s life in photographs is a freewheeling and spirited adventure. From Hitch, we would expect no less.

From the collection of Christopher Hitchens
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For atheists like Christopher Hitchens, this life is enough
Jennifer Michael Hecht
Ottawa Citizen

Author and well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens passed away Thursday night. He had to face the world as it is, with no help coming.
Photograph by: SHANNON STAPLETON, REUTERS

If life were a play, I could understand why people feel worried that they will be called to leave early. Their concern would be that they would miss the wrap up, the Act Three that makes sense of Acts One and Two, the payoff that turns the potential energy of all that drama into something kinetic that could change one’s perspective and move one’s heart. You wouldn’t want to miss the punch line of the joke, the turn at the end of the sonnet, or the finish line of the race. It is funny, now that I list them, how many of our entertainments have an extra kick at the end — even doing a crossword puzzle, pleasurable as the process is, has a happy ending in the satisfaction you get when you have answered all its interlocking queries.

Now that I’ve thought of the phrase “happy ending,” sex and fairy tales have both joined my bevy of pleasures for which we prefer not to be interrupted before the big finish. Life, however, is not a play. Nor is this life a joke, or if it is, it is the kind without a punch line. Life rambles.

The challenge of life is to be present for it while it is happening, in this moment, to be aware of it in a way that is both wide in perspective and deep in understanding. If you pester priests to know about a second life after this one, I must ask if you are using this one. Whoever is spending this life walking back and forth from the computer to the refrigerator, it is worth wondering how many thousands of years of this would be enough. This life is enough, if you are here for it. The people worried about death are the ones not truly living. They are the ones who know in their hearts that they need more time.
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Christopher Hitchens, Militant Pundit, Dies at 62 The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—Christopher Hitchens, the author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right and wrote the provocative best-seller "God is Not Great," died Thursday night after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.

Mr. Hitchens' death was announced in a statement from Conde Nast, publisher of Vanity Fair magazine. The statement says he died Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer.

A most engaged, prolific and public intellectual who enjoyed his drink (enough to "to kill or stun the average mule") and cigarettes, he announced in June 2010 that he was being treated for cancer of the esophagus and canceled a tour for his memoir "Hitch-22."
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Tributes paid to journalist Christopher Hitchens
BBC News
Tributes have flooded in for the British-born author, literary critic and journalist Christopher Hitchens who has died at the age of 62.
He had been suffering from oesophageal cancer.

Tony Blair described him as "a complete one-off, an amazing mixture of writer, journalist, polemicist, and unique character".

The author Salman Rushdie, a friend, paid tribute to him on Twitter after the announcement of his death.

"Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops," he wrote.

Mr Blair, the former Labour prime minister, publicly debated religion with Hitchens in November 2010. He said Hitchens "was fearless in the pursuit of truth and any cause in which he believed.

"And there was no belief he held that he did not advocate with passion, commitment and brilliance.

"He was an extraordinary, compelling and colourful human being whom it was a privilege to know."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who once worked as an intern for Hitchens, said: "Christopher Hitchens was everything a great essayist should be: infuriating, brilliant, highly provocative and yet intensely serious.

"He will be massively missed by everyone who values strong opinions and great writing."
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Christopher Hitchens Dead at 62
Nicholas Jackson
The Atlantic

He's the only writer that I've ever written a fan letter to. It was a year and a half ago, give or take a couple of months, and I was on the train heading deep into the suburbs of Chicago to visit my parents when I was moved to tears by a first person account of his struggle with cancer that he had written for Vanity Fair. Over the years, he had put together some stunning first-person accounts: getting waterboarded, reading his way through the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, and subjecting himself to audiobooks -- but nothing like this. Dealing with esophageal cancer, Hitchens kept on doing the only thing he was certain he knew how to do: write. He wrote his way through the disease. Unfortunately, some things, it turns out, are more powerful than words.

He fought, though, to prove that wasn't the case. His columns would appear (almost) every week in Slate. His first-person essays in Vanity Fair every month. And, on occasion, he would turn up to critique a new release (or releases) in the Books section of The Atlantic. His essays, as powerful as ever in terms of quality of writing and strength of argument, would feel like something else entirely because dear reader knew that his or her narrator was fighting to push out the words, to craft the sentences.

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Polemicist Who Slashed All, Freely, With Wit
William Grimes
The New York Times
Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq, died on Thursday in Houston. He was 62.

The cause was pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer, Vanity Fair magazine said in announcing the death, at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Mr. Hitchens, who lived in Washington, learned he had cancer while on a publicity tour in 2010 for his memoir, “Hitch-22,” and began writing and, on television, speaking about his illness frequently.

“In whatever kind of a ‘race’ life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist,” Mr. Hitchens wrote in Vanity Fair, for which he was a contributing editor.

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Christopher Hitchens, world traveler
Mary Forgione
Los Angeles Times

Christopher Hitchens, speaking at the New York Public Library in 2010. (Peter Foley / EPA)

The BBC's obituary of author and essayist Christopher Hitchens who died Thursday notes that he once resolved to visit "a country less fortunate than [his] own" at least once a year. That took him to places such as Poland, Argentina and Greece in the 1970s and more recently Uganda, Romania, Nicaragua and Iraq. It's an interesting quest.

Hitchens, of course, wrote prolifically about these places with provocative fervor, usually in the form of  essays or commentaries on politics, political leaders, etc. As book critic David L. Ulin writes in this L.A. Times appreciation: "That was the thing about Hitchens — agree with him or not, it was impossible not to be stirred by his willingness to stake out unpopular positions, to say things that others weren't willing to say."

His works also contain deftly written portraits of what he saw on his travels, little gems that have always made me a bit of a Hitchens fan.

Here's an excerpt from a 2008 Vanity Fair story about Britain's exclusive Eton school in which he gives his homeland a stony stare:

"One summer morning I took myself off to have a look round the old place. It’s not hard to find, on the outskirts of London and just in the shadow of the Queen’s largest and ugliest palace, Windsor Castle. ...  Walking along High Street, which joins the college to the castle, one passes a succession of discreet tailors, ancient timbered inns and tea shops, a Victorian-era mailbox, a photographer with a display of young Rupert Everett and Hugh Grant look-alikes in his window, before coming to a stretch of the Thames where Sir Christopher Wren had his house and where there is the largest flock of white swans I have ever seen. Big drooping willows and painted barges and boathouses complete the scene: I am always amazed at how much of old Britain still survives. Only the gruesome flight path of Heathrow Airport, planes grinding through the sky overhead, provides a reminder of the encroachments of modernity."

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Christopher Hitchens dies of cancer after a lifetime of exposing society's ills
The New York Times
The Economic Times (India)
Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the US led war in Iraq, died on Thursday at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

He was 62. The cause was pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer, said the magazine Vanity Fair, which announced the death. In recent days, Hitchens had stopped treatment and entered hospice care at the Houston hospital. He learned he had cancer while on a publicity tour in 2010 for his memoir, "Hitch 22", and began writing and, on television, speaking about his illness frequently.
Read on
Christopher Hitchens: The man for all reason
Richard Lea, The Guardian
hindustantimes.com
The writer, journalist and contrarian Christopher Hitchens died at the age of 62 on Thursday after crossing the border into the “land of malady” on being diagnosed with an oesophageal cancer in June 2010. Vanity Fair, for which he had written since 1992, marked his death in a memorial article posted late on Thursday night. The reactions to Hitchens’ illness from his intellectual opponents — ranging from undisguised glee to offers of prayers — testified to his stature as one of the leading voices of secularism since the publication in 2007 of his anti-religious polemic God is Not Great. The reaction from the author himself, who after a lifetime of “burning the candle on both ends” described his illness as “something so predictable and banal that it bores even me”, testified to the sharpness of his wit and the clarity of his thinking under fire, as he dissected the discourse of “struggle” that surrounds cancer, paid tribute to the medical staff who looked after him and resolved to “resist bodily as best I can, even if only passively, and to seek the most advanced advice”.
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Christopher Hitchens at his most polemic - in video
The Guardian
A roundup of video highlights from Hitchens's most defiant and fiery debates, covering atheism to whiskey

Christopher Hitchens speaking at the New York Public Library in 2010.
Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA

Christopher Hitchens, one of the more provocative, thought-provoking, and entertaining public intellectuals of his generation is dead at 62 after a public struggle with esophageal cancer. Ironic, some have pointed out, since it was his voice that was his greatest gift. "Christopher's most memorable rejoinders, I have found, linger, and reverberate, and eventually combine, as chess moves combine," Martin Amis wrote in the forward to The Quotable Hitchens.

Hitch was nothing if not quotable. The irascible "polemicist," as he is being remembered today, was a defiant atheist until the end. Here he is in a debate with Sam Harris, David Wolpe and Bradley Shavit Artson in Los Angeles earlier this year riffing on the idea of the afterlife:

Read on and watch videos on The Guardian site
Christopher Hitchens dies aged 62
Richard Lea
The Guardian
Celebrated journalist, writer and unshakeable secularist has died from complications of oesophageal cancer
Christopher Hitchens photographed in November 2010 for the Observer New Review. The writer, critic and journalist has died aged 62 after contracting oesophageal cancer. Photograph: Jamie-James Medina for the Observer

A contrarian in life, the writer Christopher Hitchens united the world in death, with friends, colleagues and even debating opponents joining to celebrate his fearless intellect, ready wit and diamantine prose after he died from cancer at the age of 62.

Salman Rushdie took to Twitter to mourn the passing of a "beloved friend", writing "A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops." Richard Dawkins said he was "one of the greatest orators of all time", and called him "a polymath, a wit ... and a valiant fighter against all tyrants including imaginary supernatural ones." The former prime minister Tony Blair, who Hitchens bested in a debate over religion at the end of last year, said he was "fearless in the pursuit of truth" and praised his "passion, commitment and brilliance".

Writing in for the Mail online his brother Peter, acknowledged a "complex relationship" which included a public falling out in 2001, but went on to praise his "courage". "My brother possessed this virtue to the very end, and if I often disagreed with the purposes for which he used it, I never doubted the quality or ceased to admire it," he said.

Read on
Christopher Hitchens’ passions: Words, alcohol and cigarettes
Bob Minzesheimer
via USA Today

Writer Christopher Hitchens died of pneumonia, aged 62.
Photograph by: Amanda Edwards, Getty Images

British-American writer Christopher Hitchens— the combative and caustic critic, intellectual, atheist and self-defined “conservative Marxist” — died Thursday at the age of 62 at a Texas hospital. The cause of death was pneumonia, a complication of oesophageal cancer. He died Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, surrounded by family and friends. Vanity Fair magazine, which announced his death, said there would “never be another like Christopher.” The magazine’s editor, Graydon Carter, described Hitchins as someone “of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar. Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls.” Hitchens disclosed in June 2010 that he was being treated for cancer and would be “a very lucky person to live another five years.” He continued to write even as he temporarily lost the use of his voice.
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Vanity Fair essayist Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
CNN Wire Staff
CNN

Christopher Hitchens was "a master of the stunning line and the biting quip," Vanity Fair said in a statement
Christopher Hitchens, the prosaic essayist whose pungent social commentary delighted his fans, enraged his detractors and engaged the legion of readers who devoured his work, has died from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 62. "There will never be another like Christopher," said Vanity Fair magazine editor Graydon Carter, who called him "a man of ferocious intellect." \"Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls." Regarded as one of the English-speaking world's great public intellectuals, Hitchens, who died Thursday, churned out literary criticism and tackled societal and political topics in magazines and books. He wrote wry monthly columns for Vanity Fair. He penned articles for the New Statesman, the London Evening Standard, London's Daily Express, The Nation, Harper's, The Spectator, The Times Literary Supplement, New York Newsday, The Atlantic and Slate.
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How Will Hitchens Be Remembered?
Jason Cowley
The Daily Beast
Will Christopher Hitchens, who has died at the age of 62, be remembered as a great writer or as a great orator and intellectual entertainer? In his final interview, conducted with Richard Dawkins and published in the Christmas issue of New Statesman, Christopher Hitchens, who has died from cancer at the age of 62, spoke of how the one consistency for him in his long, four-decade career as a writer was in being against the totalitarian, on the left and on the right. “The totalitarian, to me, is the enemy—the one that’s absolute, the one that wants control over the inside of your head, not just your actions and your taxes.” And the ultimate totalitarian was God, against whom (or the notion of whom) he was raging until the end. Hitchens himself was many things: a polemicist, reporter, author, rhetorician, militant atheist, drinker, name-dropper, and raconteur. He was also an absolutist. He liked a clear, defined target against which to take aim and fire; he knew what he wanted to write against and he did so with all the force and power of his formidable erudition and articulacy. Hitchens was an accomplished and prolific writer, but an even better speaker: his perfect sentences cascaded and tumbled, unstoppably. He was one of our greatest contemporary debaters, taking on all-comers on all subjects, except sport, in which he professed to have no interest at all.
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Christopher Hitchens was militant pundit and humanist
Hillel Italie
The Christian Science Monitor
He was a most engaged, prolific and public intellectual who wrote numerous books, was a frequent television commentator and a contributor to Vanity Fair, Slate and other publications. He became a popular author in 2007 thanks to 'God is Not Great,' a manifesto for atheists.

Christopher Hitchens a Washington, D.C.-based author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right, died Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston of complications from a long illness, according to a statement from Vanity Fair magazine.
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Christopher Hitchens has died: Fighter, doubter, provocateur
Los Angeles Times

Christopher Hitchens has died at age 62. From around the Web, notes on the death of Hitchens, essayist, provocateur, American:

David Frum:

A friend of theirs once took Christopher Hitchens and his wife Carol Blue to dinner at Palm Beach’s Everglades Club, notorious for its exclusion of Jews.

“You will behave, won’t you?” Carol anxiously asked Christopher on the way into the club. 

No dice. When the headwaiter approached, Christopher demanded: “Do you have a kosher menu?”

Christopher was never a man to back away from a confrontation on behalf of what he considered basic decency. Yet it would be wrong to remember only the confrontational side.

Christopher was also a man of exquisite sensitivity and courtesy, dispensed without regard to age or station. On one of the last occasions I saw him, my wife and I came to drop some food –- lamb tagine -– to sustain a family with more on its mind than cooking. Christopher, though weary and sick, insisted on painfully lifting himself from his chair to perform the rites of hospitality. He might have cancer, but we were still guests -– and as guests, we must have champagne.

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Christopher Hitchens on life, death and lobster
BBC News
Christopher Hitchens - essayist, drinker, smoker, atheist and freedom of speech campaigner - has died. He led a picaresque, bohemian life of intellectual enquiry, literary criticism and many long lunches and late nights. Contrariness and controversy were never far away. He began his journalistic career firmly on the left but in later life was attacked by former comrades for becoming a strong supporter of President George W Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For Hitchens there was no contradiction - his new target was "Islamo-fascism" a term he is thought to have coined. But as well as his essays, he will be remembered as much for his pithy aphorisms, wise reflections and wounding one-liners. On religion:
"(The New Testament) is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right."
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Christopher Hitchens is Dead at 62
Josh Voorhees
Slate
Iconoclast and public intellectual passes away at a Houston hospital after battle with cancer.

See Slate’s full tribute to the life of Christopher Hitchens. Read Slate’s complete collection of Christopher Hitchens' columns. You can also follow The Slatest on Twitter for updates when new Hitchens-related content is published.

See Slate’s full tribute to the life of Christopher Hitchens. Read Slate’s complete collection of Christopher Hitchens' columns. You can also follow The Slatest on Twitter for updates when new Hitchens-related content is published.

Christopher Hitchens is dead.

The prolific journalist, well-known public intellectual and noted contrarian, who is perhaps most famous in the eyes of many Americans for his best-selling exegesis against religion, passed away Thursday at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He was 62.

Hitchens, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and The Atlantic, and a regular columnist at Slate, discovered in June 2010 that he had Stage 4 esophageal cancer, a diagnosis that forced the iconoclast to curtail what had once been a full schedule of public appearances but that did little to slow his prodigious output of essays, columns and book reviews up until the very end.

At a rare public appearance in his final months, Hitchens conceded that his time was running short, but said that he had no plans to give up his life's work in the face of his deteriorating health. "I'm not going to quit until I absolutely have to," he said then, drawing an ovation from the crowd.

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Our Hitch memorial
Why Evolution Is True
Jerry Coyne
I don’t intend to extol Christopher Hitchens in detail: I’ve done that before, and others are far better than I at expressing our sadness at the passing of this great lion of a man. But perhaps we can do this as a tribute: take a picture that represents your feelings about Hitchens and his life, and send it to my email address (available via a minute’s Googling) by Sunday morning. It would be nice if you were in it, but that’s not necessary; just let it represent your memorial to Hitchens. Do avoid mundane pictures of just his books, as we all have those, and try to be creative. And let me know how you want to be identified. Or, if you wish, make a drawing, but a new one.
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In Memoriam, my courageous brother Christopher, 1949-2011
Peter Hitchens
Mail Online
How odd it is to hear of your own brother’s death on an early morning radio bulletin. How odd it is for a private loss to be a public event. I wouldn’t normally dream of writing about such a thing here, and I doubt if many people would expect me to. It is made even odder by the fact that I am a minor celebrity myself. And that the, ah, complex relationship between me and my brother has been public property. I have this morning turned down three invitations to talk on the radio about my brother. I had a powerful feeling that it would be wrong to do so, not immediately explicable but strong enough to persuade me to say a polite ‘no thank you’.
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Christopher Hitchens dead at 62
The Washington Post
Clinton Yates
Christopher Hitchens is no longer with us
The incredible essayist, expert wordsmith and profound thinker is flat out my favorite writer of any kind, of all time. Last night, he lost his public battle with esophageal cancer at 62. I once bumped into him, literally, outside The Wyoming, his home in Kalorama, when we collided while walking and staring at our phones. I can't put into words how much I'll miss this man's work. WaPo. Slate. Atlantic. Vanity Fair.
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Humanists Mourn Christopher Hitchens: Stalwart for Atheism
American Humanist Association

(Washington, DC - December 16, 2011) -- Humanists and atheists are saddened by the death of the prolific writer and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens, who died Thursday at the age of 62 after battling esophageal cancer.

“Humanity has lost a powerful stalwart for atheism,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Christopher Hitchens changed the discussion about religion and non-belief by championing public criticism of theology.”

One of a group that became known as The Four Horsemen (which also includes Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris), he held a dual US-UK citizenship and was connected with several secular groups in the U.S., including the American Humanist Association—he was the keynote speaker at the 2008 World Humanist Congress in Washington, DC.

Hitchens became a prolific debater on the subject of religion and atheism especially since his God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything in 2007, developing into someone as well-known for those appearances as for his writing. His debating opponents included Tony Blair, David Wolpe, and Chris Hedges.

His blunt and forthright reputation in promoting atheism got another widespread boost after the publication of The Portable Atheist, which also came out in 2007, where he comments on the works of a many of the world’s best thinkers.

“Hitchens’ mastery of a logical argument along with his confident demeanor gave many the courage to come out of the atheist closet,” Speckhardt said.

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POSTSCRIPT: CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, 1949-2011
Christopher Buckley, The New Yorker

We were friends for more than thirty years, which is a long time but, now that he is gone, seems not nearly long enough. I was rather nervous when I first met him, one night in London in 1977, along with his great friend Martin Amis. I had read his journalism and was already in awe of his brilliance and wit and couldn’t think what on earth I could bring to his table. I don’t know if he sensed the diffidence on my part—no, of course he did; he never missed anything—but he set me instantly at ease, and so began one of the great friendships and benisons of my life. It occurs to me that “benison” is a word I first learned from Christopher, along with so much else.

A few years later, we found ourselves living in the same city, Washington. I had come to work in an Administration; he had come to undo that Administration. Thirty years later, I was voting for Obama and Christopher had become one of the most forceful, and persuasive, advocates for George W. Bush’s war in Iraq. How did that happen?
In those days, Christopher was a roaring, if not raving, Balliol Bolshevik. Oh dear, the things he said about Reagan! The things—come to think of it—he said about my father. How did we become such friends? I only once stopped speaking to him, because of a throwaway half-sentence about my father-in-law in one of his Harper’s essays. I missed his company during that six-month froideur (another Christopher mot). It was about this time that he discovered that he was in fact Jewish, which somewhat complicated his fierce anti-Israel stance. When we embraced, at the bar mitzvah of Sidney Blumenthal’s son, the word “Shalom” sprang naturally from my lips.

A few days ago, when I was visiting him at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, for what I knew would be the last time, his wife, Carol, mentioned to me that Sidney had recently written to Christopher. I was surprised but very pleased to hear this. Christopher had caused Sidney great legal and financial grief during the Götterdämmerung of the Clinton impeachment. But now Sidney, a cancer experiencer himself, was reaching out to his old friend with words of tenderness and comfort and implicit forgiveness. This was the act of a mensch. But then Christopher was like that—it was hard, perhaps impossible, to stay mad at him, though I doubt Henry Kissinger or Bill Clinton or any member of the British Royal Family will be among the eulogists at his memorial service.
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Christopher Hitchens dies after battle with cancer
BBC News

British-born author, literary critic and journalist Christopher Hitchens has died, aged 62, according to Vanity Fair magazine.

He died from pneumonia, a complication of the oesophageal cancer he was suffering from, at a Texas hospital.

Vanity Fair said there would "never be another like Christopher".

He is survived by his wife, Carol Blue, and their daughter, Antonia, and his children from a previous marriage, Alexander and Sophia.

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter described the writer as someone "of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar".

"Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls."

Mr Hitchens was born in Portsmouth in 1949 and graduated from Oxford in 1970.

He began his career as a journalist in Britain in the 1970s and later moved to New York, becoming contributing editor to Vanity Fair in November 1992.

He was diagnosed with cancer in June 2010, and documented his declining health in his Vanity Fair column.

In an August 2010 essay for the magazine he wrote: "I love the imagery of struggle.

"I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient."

Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight programme, in November that year, he reflected on a life that he knew would be cut short: "It does concentrate the mind, of course, to realise that your life is more rationed than you thought it was."
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Christopher Hitchens obituary
Peter Wilby, The Guardian

Christopher Hitchens – 'one of the greatest conversationalists of our age'.
Photograph: Catherine Karnow/Corbis

For most of his career, Christopher Hitchens, who has died aged 62, was the left's biggest journalistic star, writing and broadcasting with wit, style and originality in a period when such qualities were in short supply among those of similar political persuasion. Nobody else spoke with such confidence and passion for what Americans called "liberalism" and Hitchens (regarding "liberal" as too "evasive") called "socialism".

His targets were the abusers of power, particularly Henry Kissinger (whom he tried to bring to trial for his role in bombing Cambodia and overthrowing the Allende regime in Chile) and Bill Clinton. He was unrelenting in his support for the Palestinian cause and his excoriation of America's projections of power in Asia and Latin America. He was a polemicist rather than an analyst or political thinker – his headmaster at the Leys School in Cambridge presciently forecast a future as a pamphleteer – and, like all the best polemicists, brought to his work outstanding skills of reporting and observation.

To these, he added wide reading, not always worn lightly, an extraordinary memory – he seemed, his friend Ian McEwan observed, to enjoy "instant neurological recall" of anything he had ever read or heard – and a vigorous, if sometimes pompous writing style, heavily laden with adjectives, elegantly looping sub-clauses and archaic phrases such as "allow me to inform you".
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Christopher Hitchens Has Died
Douglas Wilson, Christianity Today



Christopher Hitchens was a celebrity intellectual, and, as such, the basic outlines of his life are generally well known. But for those just joining us, Christopher Hitchens was the older of two sons, born to Eric and Yvonne in April 1949. He discovered as a schoolboy that probing questions about the veracity of the Christian faith were part of a discussion that he "liked having." His younger brother, Peter, followed him in unbelief. But unlike Christopher, Peter publicly returned to the Church of England, the communion where they had both been baptized.

Christopher spent some time in the 1960s as a radical leftist, but of course that was what everybody was doing back then. Somehow Christopher managed to do this and march to a different drummer, doing his radical stint as part of a post–Trotskyite Luxemburgist sect. He graduated from Balliol at Oxford, and soon became established as a writer, the vocation of his life, one in which he excelled. As a writer and thinker, he was greatly influenced by (and wrote about) men like George Orwell and Thomas Jefferson, while as the same time reserving the right to attack any sacred cow of his choosing—and the more sacred, the better. He is widely known for his scathing attack on Mother Teresa, and when Jerry Falwell passed away, he spent a good deal of time on television chortling about it.

But this was all part of Christopher's very public rhetorical strategy, not a function of an inability to domesticate a surly temperament. He was actually an affable and pleasant dinner companion, and fully capable of being the perfect gentleman. He was fully aware of the authority an enfant terrible could have, provided he played his cards right, and this was a strategy that Hitchens employed very well indeed. One man who delivers a terrible insult is banned from television for life, and another man, who does the same thing, has people lining up with invitations and microphones. In case anyone is wondering, Christopher was that second man.

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Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62
David Folkenflik, NPR



The influential writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday at the age of 62 from complications of cancer of the esophagus. Hitchens confronted his disease in part by writing, bringing the same unsparing insight to his mortality that he had directed at so many other subjects.

Over the years, Hitchens' caustic attention was directed at a broad range of subjects, including Henry Kissinger, Prince Charles, Bob Hope, Michael Moore, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

"If you're at Vanity Fair and you're talking about some of the things that Christopher has taken on, at the top of the list is going to be Mother Teresa," said Graydon Carter, editor at Vanity Fair and a longtime friend.

In 1994, Hitchens co-wrote and narrated a documentary on her called Hell's Angel.

"This profane marriage between tawdry media hype and medieval superstition gave birth to an icon which few have since had the poor taste to question," he said in it.

Hitchens wrote about her for the magazine, too. Carter says it didn't go over so well.

"That's a tough topic to go after," he said. "It was quite negative, and we had hundreds of subscription cancellations, including some from our own staff."
Read on

TAGGED: ANNOUNCEMENTS, CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS


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