I'm shocked and saddened this morning to note that gonzo journalism pioneer Hunter S. Thompson has committed suicide.
Thompson was found dead Sunday in his Aspen-area home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff's officials said. He was 67. Thompson's wife, Anita, had gone out before the shooting and was not home at the time.
Besides the 1972 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.
Thompson is credited alongside Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese with helping pioneer New Journalism — or, as he dubbed it, "gonzo journalism" — in which the writer made himself an essential component of the story.
Thompson, whose early writings mostly appeared in Rolling Stone magazine, often portrayed himself as wildly intoxicated as he reported on such historic figures as Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
"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."
Planet Swank extends its condolences to Thompson's friends, family and fans, especially Thompson's son Juan, who discovered his body, according to the BBC.
Thompson's son, Juan, found his body. He said the 67-year-old shot himself.
...In a statement to the Aspen Daily News, Thompson's son, Juan, said: "On February 20, Dr Hunter S Thompson took his life with a gunshot to the head at his fortified compound in Woody Creek, Colorado.
"Hunter prized his privacy and we ask that his friends and admirers respect that privacy as well as that of his family."
I met the younger Thompson at an anniversary celebration for Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas in Louisville, Kentucky, where he read an essay on what it was like growing up with his famous father. He seemed to be a nice, soft-spoken young man.