Christopher Hitchens, the controversial British journalist and author who often contributed to such American publications as The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate and others, died Thursday night in Houston from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 62.
Hitchens had been undergoing treatment at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for an undisclosed period and died of pneumonia, a complication of the esophageal cancer he was diagnosed with in 2010 — at the time cutting short the book tour in support of his memoir, Hitch-22.
Hitchens made a rare public appearance in Houston in October at the Texas Freethought Convention organized by the Atheist Alliance of America, where he was awarded with the Richard Dawkins Freethinker of the Year Award.
Appearing completely bald, Hitchens touched on his grim Stage Four prognosis in his acceptance speech and said he had traveled to M.D. Anderson regularly over the past year to seek treatment, which he had pursued aggressively since his diagnosis.
Hitchens was controversial for his insistent "New Atheism" (examined in his 2007 book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) and his strong political positions, including his vehement support of the Iraq war and gradual movement away from radical leftism to what some labeled neoconservatism.
Regardless of his views on International politics and religion, however, Hitchens was a persuasive essayist and compelling personality without whom the world has lost a bit of its wit.
Watch Hitchens and Richard Dawkins at the 2011 Texas Freethought Convention below: