Chistopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62. The Christian Science Monitor reports that Hitchens died from complications from esophageal cancer on Thursday. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Hitchens was a prolific essayist and journalist known for his often controversial views on religion and politics. In 2007, he penned a manifesto for atheists entitled "God is Not Great." Following his diagnosis, Hitchens was not shy to show his intolerance of those who said they were praying for him.
"Even the nicest and most caring religious people are often unaware of quite how rude they are being," Hitchens wrote in September 2010. "The deity whose intercession is being implored is claimed to be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. It is fully aware of the situation. It can make me a believer if it chooses, or wave away my carcinoma. Why should it be swayed by the entreaties of other sinners? My provisional conclusion is that those who practice incantations are doing so as much for their sake as mine: no harm in that to be sure and likely to produce just as much of a result."
As the Christian Science Monitor eulogizes, "Eloquent and intemperate, bawdy and urbane, Hitchens was an acknowledged contrarian and contradiction — half-Christian, half-Jewish and fully non-believing; a native of England who settled in America; a former Trotskyite who backed the Iraq war and supported George W. Bush. But his passions remained constant and targets of his youth, from Henry Kissinger to Mother Teresa, remained hated."
Salman Rushdie tweeted about Hitchens' death, saying, "Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops. Christopher Hitchens, April 13, 1949-December 15, 2011."