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Author Christopher Hitchens dies at 62

Christopher Hitchens, author of provocative bestseller God is Not Great, died yesterday at the age of 62
Christopher Hitchens before his struggle with cancer

Vocal gay rights supporter and atheist author Christopher Hitchens died yesterday in a hospital in Texas after suffering from pneumonia brought on by a long battle with cancer.

The prolific and public intellectual was known to enjoy his cigarettes and drink (enough to 'kill or stun the average mule') and announced in June 2010 he was being treated for cancer of the oesophagus.

The British-American journalist was a frequent television commentator and contributor to Vanity Fair, Slate and other publications but was arguably best known for his above-mentioned anti-religious novel.

Although twice married and a self-proclaimed heterosexual, Hitchens wrote in his memoirs, Hitch-22 that while studying in Oxford in the 1960s, he occasionally had homosexual 'relapses' with future members of Margaret Thatcher's government.

'Every now and then, even though I was by then fixed on the pursuit of young women, a mild and mildly enjoyable relapse would occur and I suppose that I can "claim" this ... of two young men who later became members of Margaret Thatcher's government.

'For this very reason I can't really give any more names,' he wrote.

Hitchens was also admired among the LGBTI community for his alliance with British gay icon, Stephen Fry. During a debate on the BBC in 2009, which he and Fry argued the Church did not stand for good, he remarked: 'The church can apologise too for condemning my friend Stephen Fry, for his nature.'

For the last 18 months, Hitchens had been documenting his life in Vanity Fair. He is survived by his second wife, author Carol Blue, and three children, Sophia, Antonia and Alexander.

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