After a very public fight against cancer, Christopher Hitchens has passed away at age sixty-two. The controversial author, as reliably crotchety as he was incisive, died from pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer.
Since his diagnosis in 2010, Hitchens had chronicled his illness in Vanity Fair, writing, "In whatever kind of a ‘race’ life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist." Hitchens was noted both as a no-holds-barred reporter and a vehement atheist, authoring the book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, and even taking aim at Mother Theresa. He also drew a fair amount of criticism for his staunch support of the war in Iraq, and for his much maligned "Why Women Aren't Funny" essay.
Controversy or no, Hitchens was widely beloved and respected, and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter wrote in a tribute, "Christopher Hitchens was a wit, a charmer, and a troublemaker, and to those who knew him well, he was a gift from, dare I say it, God." RIP.