Influential writer, cultural critic & popular atheist Christopher Hitchens died yesterday due to complications of cancer of the esophagus. He was 62.
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. His career spanning 4 decades has seen him be a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in September 2008. 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.
A well known debater, his confrontational style made him a huge set of admirers and some detractors as well. Identified as a champion of the “New Atheism” movement, Hitchens describes himself as an antitheist and a believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Hitchens says that a person “could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct,” but that “an antitheist, a term I’m trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there’s no evidence for such an assertion.” He argues that the concept of god or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization. He wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in his 2007 book God Is Not Great.
Though Hitchens retained his British citizenship, he became a United States citizen on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial on 13 April 2007, his 58th birthday. Asteroid 57901 is named after him. He has 2 children from his first marriage to Eleni Meleagrou. In 1989 Hitchens left Meleagrou for Carol Blue, an American writer.They have one daughter.
Christopher Eric Hitchens (April 13th, 1949 – December 15th, 2011)