Christopher Hitchens dies: Praise pours in for controversial writer
"Christopher Hitchens was everything a great essayist should be: infuriating, brilliant, highly provocative and yet intensely serious," said Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. "I worked as an intern for him years ago. My job was to fact check his articles. Since he had a photographic memory and an encyclopedic mind it was the easiest job I've ever done."
Long after his diagnosis, his columns and essays appeared regularly, savaging the royal family, reveling in the death of Osama bin Laden, or pondering the letters of poet Philip Larkin. He was intolerant of nonsense, including about his own health. In a piece which appeared in the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, he dismissed the old saying that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
"So far, I have decided to take whatever my disease can throw at me, and to stay combative even while taking the measure of my inevitable decline. I repeat, this is no more than what a healthy person has to do in slower motion," he wrote. "It is our common fate. In either case, though, one can dispense with facile maxims that don't live up to their apparent billing."
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