Hunter S Thompson kills himself
February 21, 2005 - 4:00PM
Hunter S Thompson, the acerbic counterculture writer who popularised a new form of fictional journalism in books like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, has fatally shot himself at his home in Colorado.
He was 67.
Thompson's death tonight was confirmed by a personal friend, Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.
"We do have confirmation that Hunter Thompson was found dead this evening of an apparent self-inflicted wound," added Tricia Louthis, of the sheriff's office.
Thompson's body was found at his home near Aspen by his son, Juan Thompson. The writer's wife, Anita, was not home at the time.
"Hunter prized his privacy and we ask that his friends and admirers respect that privacy as well as that of his family," Juan Thompson said in a statement released to the Aspen Daily News.
Besides the 1972 drug-hazed classic about Thompson's visit to Las Vegas, he also wrote Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.
The central character in those wild, sprawling satires was Dr Thompson, a snarling, drug- and alcohol-crazed observer and participant.
The American is credited with pioneering New Journalism - or, as he dubbed it, "gonzo journalism" - in which the writer made himself an essential component of the story. Much of his earliest work appeared in Rolling Stone magazine.
"Fiction is based on reality unless you're a fairy-tale artist," Thompson told the Associated Press in 2003.
"You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you're writing about before you alter it."
An acute observer of the decadence and depravity in American life, Thompson also wrote such collections as Generation of Swine and Songs of the Doomed. His first ever novel, The Rum Diary, written in 1959, was first published in 1998.
Thompson was a counterculture icon at the height of the Watergate era, and Richard Nixon once said he represented "that dark, venal, and incurably violent side of the American character."
Thompson also was the model for Gary Trudeau's balding Uncle Duke in the comic strip Doonesbury and was portrayed on screen by Johnny Depp in a film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Other books include The Great Shark Hunt, Hell's Angels and The Proud Highway.
His most recent effort was Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness.