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Writer Christopher Hitchens loses his battle with cancer

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Christopher Hitchens obituary

Controversial writer Christopher Hitchens has died from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 62 years old.

Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens died Thursday of pneumonia, a complication of the esophageal cancer he was diagnosed with in 2010. He was 62.

A prolific writer on everything from atheism to politics to the British royal family, Hitchens was known for his unflinching prose and often unpopular opinions which created a great deal of debate amongst his readers in Vanity Fair, where he had been a contributing editor since 1992.

"Christopher Hitchens was a wit, a charmer and a troublemaker, and to those who knew him well, he was a gift from, dare I say it, God. He died today at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, after a punishing battle with esophageal cancer, the same disease that killed his father," confirmed Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

"There will never be another like Christopher. A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar. Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls."

"To his friends, Christopher will be remembered for his elevated but inclusive humor and for a staggering, almost punishing memory that held up under the most liquid of late-night conditions. And to all of us, his readers, Christopher Hitchens will be remembered for the millions of words he left behind. They are his legacy. And, God love him, it was his will," Carter wrote.

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Hitchens kept up his writing duties after his dire diagnosis, refusing to back down from his anti-religion stance even in the face of his own mortality.

"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 in his final column for Vanity Fair, which can be read in the January 2012 issue. "It is our common fate. In either case, though, one can dispense with facile maxims that don't live up to their apparent billing."

Christopher Hitchens is survived by his wife Carol Blue and three children, Alexander, Sophia and Antonia.

Image courtesy Doug Meszler / WENN
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