Christopher Hitchens has died

A sad day indeed:

Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

No report yet of any deathbed conversions. I don’t expect any, either.

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5 Responses

  1. His last wish was to do your mother. Unfortunately the sight of her made him give up the ghost.

    And to think I almost made it into the Howie Carr death pool, but no, I got through too late.

  2. I hope (for my sake too) that he got a pleasant surprise!

  3. Well, there is no heaven, but if there was, I’m sure Hitch would give ’em all hell.

  4. As one person said: There are no words to describe this loss. Hitchens owned them all.

  5. Turns out Christopher Hitchens had fans and admirers from all walks of life. Found this post commemorating Hitchens by a rather unlikely blogger. Funny and poignant. He will be missed. Click here to read it for yourself http://bit.ly/w40uFn

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