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Christopher Hitchens. Journalist. Born Portsmouth, Britain, April 13, 1949. Died Houston, December 16, aged 62.

The influential author, polemicist, provocateur and committed bon vivant, died from cancer of the oesophagus last week.

Known for his militant humanism and independence, Hitchens, who began his journalistic career in Britain before moving to the US 30 years ago, continued to be a prolific writer and speaker after his diagnosis, despite radical treatment that left him horribly weakened. He continued his caustic columns in Vanity Fair and Slate magazine, savaging the royal family or revelling in the death of Osama bin Laden.

Christopher Hitchens’ views on…

WRITING: “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.”

DISSIDENTS: “The noble title of ‘dissident’ must be earned rather than claimed; it connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement.”

POWERFUL FORCES: “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

JOURNALISM: “I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information.”

FRIENDSHIP: “A melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realisation that you can’t make old friends.”

Rest In Peace