Farewell to Hitch, a Scourge of Tyrants Who Was Impossible to Ignore

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Farewell to Hitch, a Scourge of Tyrants Who Was Impossible to Ignore


Byline: Louise Jury Chief Arts Correspondent

TRIBUTES poured in today for Christopher Hitchens, the author, intellectual and fierce atheist, who has died aged 62.

The British-born writer, who lived in America for the past 30 years, was suffering from cancer of the oesophagus.

He died in a Texas hospital of pneumonia, prompting his close friend Salman Rushdie to observe: "A great voice falls silent." Stephen Fry said today on Twitter: "Goodbye, Christopher Hitchens. You were envied, feared, adored, reviled and loved. Never ignored. Never bested. A great and marvellous man."

Fry chaired a celebration of Hitchens at the Southbank Centre last month which included actor Sean Penn speaking from Hollywood and science writer Richard Dawkins.

Today, on Twitter, Mr Dawkins said: "Christopher Hitchens, finest orator of our time, fellow horseman, valiant fighter against all tyrants including God". Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair to which Hitchens contributed, said he was a man of "ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar.

"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, God."

Comedian Mark Thomas said: "Even when he was wrong he was brilliant."

Christopher Hitchens was born in Portsmouth, the son of a naval officer, and after a private education, studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford, graduating with a third.

He embarked on a career in journalism and became friends with a group of writers including Martin Amis and Ian McEwan on the New Statesman. …

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