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Hunter S Thompson Suicide

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Uncle Duke has checked out. Reports are coming in that 67 year old author Hunter S Thompson shot himself to death Sunday, February 20 at his home in Aspen, Colorado. [For local coverage from the Denver Post, CLICK HERE.]

Hunter Thompson significantly redefined the very idea of journalism. He upturned all expectations of what journalists do, inserting himself and his hard-living rock and roll lifestyle into his stories to the point they sometimes almost seemed to be more about him than the nominal subjects. Along with the writing of Tom Wolfe, Thompson’s newly subjective expression became the basis of so-called “new journalism.”

Yet in his day, back in the 60s and 70s, he had some skill and craft at work that belied the half-conscious dope fiend he described in his stories. He wrote very good character sketches, and in fact told the actual stories in the midst of all the flava.

You wouldn’t likely see any sign of his impending suicide in the most recently published article, dated for February 15, a silly but pleasant little goof called
“Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray.”

Among his other adventures, his 1970 Freak Power ticket run for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado has been an especially entertaining inspiration to freak power candidates ever since.

Besides his writing, he provided the inspiration for Gary Trudeau’s best Doonesbury character, Uncle Duke. It’s even better that Thompson apparently HATED the Duke character, expressing the desire to do bodily harm to the author. This is, of course, how you would expect Duke to react. Uncle Duke’s biography HERE.

Surely the wicked Hunter S Thompson must go to hell for his sinful ways. In my own role as Dante, though, it probably wouldn’t be too harsh a punishment. Uncle Duke got his worst torment being stuck at home in Aspen- with John Denver as his next door neighbor. He could wake up every morning for all eternity to the strains of “Rocky Mountain High.” That’d learn him to kill himself.

Pictures of HST

“Uncle Duke has left the building” at More Things

More views and information on Thompson here.

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  • Man! Gonzo-ne – the forefather of blogs:(

  • RJ

    BlogCritics is all over this story.

    We’ve already got 2 posts on the subject.

    Please offer more original posts on Hunter S. Thompson’s suicide, if you are inclined to do so.

    This is BIG news…

  • only to a few people.

  • It’s amazing to me when a guy like Thompson, who survived the encounters with the Angels and his lifestyle in general, dies at his own hand.

  • Al – I enjoyed your thoughts on HST.

    I find him to be a profoundly influential writer (to me at least) . The blending on fiction and non-fiction, the personal and objective, the mind-reeling spiral of the senses, the sense of weary confusion at an unyielding world.

    That’s why I place HST, Tom Wolfe, and Jack Kerouac in that special pantheon of writers, strange/wise minds for strange days.

  • gonzo marx

    “when the going gets weird, the weird turn Pro” HST

    the Curse of Lono is finally fufilled…the greedheads and swine can rejoice…i can almost hear the Tin Man with his gravelly chortle pulling his hand out of the Shrub’s ass for a second so he can squirt some Iraqi’s blood onto the corners of his rusted mouth, enabling that shark like smile….fuck them…i refuse to allow this Horror to drown me in the Kingdom of Fear

    a giant has fallen in the Wilderness…none of the “legit” Citizens will do more than a token Notice…but the freaks,the outlaws,the strange, the thinkers, the Doomed….they will notice.

    among the Tribe of the Weird there will be much Lamenting and consuming of peyote buttons as we Spirit Walk and rail against the gods as to why our Shaman has been taken from U.S.

    the gods won’t Answer, of course…they never do, and now there is one less Voice to put our muddied feet on the Path…one less Visionary to rub our noses in the fact that the Emperor is ALWAYS naked…you can almost hear the cackling from Hell as Nixon jerks off violently in small souled glee…

    when most of the hippies that had tuned in,turned on and dropped out shed their tye dye clothes for the yuppie suits and BMW’s of Reagan’s 80’s…becoming the fascist neo-Cons, epitome of all they had railed against, Hunter stood firm on the slippery muck of Principle and Truth…spewing the Words that helped tear away the Veil of Corporate propaganda and hauling us out of the rut induced by cowardly, politically correct, right-think.

    he was not the kind of man that burst thru a concrete wall spitting dust and looking good doing it, he was more the guy who watched that Freak consume the room, and then picked up all the loose change on the floor after the bar fight…but he always “stomped on the terra”, leaving indelible boot prints on the necks of our Spirits as he gnawed on the Skull of Truth with his very own teeth.

    so wash down that mescaline with a quart of Wild Turkey, spark a joint and wait for it all to kick in…give the good Doctor the mother of all Wakes that he deserves….

    me…i’ll be wondering who is going to feed the mojo-wire with the flotsam of America’s id, and wailing and gnashing my teeth in the realization that half a continent away in the quiet snows of Owl Farm the peacocks are crying….


  • Very nice tribute, Gonzo Marx. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Irish Barry

    R.I.P Ribald King of gloriously crafted shite talk. Your like will neer be seen again. You spat in the tigers eye and pissed on the elitist SUV wankers causing great mirth to all and sundry in the process. You kept the greedy souless swine in check and hit them with the high beams. Hats off. Who will carry the torch? Who will grab a wisp of your ashes as they blast from the canon at Woody creek, your ‘fortified Aspen compound’, and keep the flame alive? I mean someone has to demolish this PC facade for fucks sake. Life is just too bloody short my good man.

    Now that the good doctor has smoked his last Dunhill it’s time we propose a toast…….

    Hunter you were a distinct voice amidst the babble and the bullshit. You waded through the shite and showed us the folly of our ways. You were honest and nutty and spawned manys the guffaw from even the most cantankerous dry balls. Hopefully the Big Man has the foresight to appoint you as his chief counsel.

    God Speed Good Doctor.


  • dave Hume

    suicide is not the right word. Hunter didn’t capitulate or give in. He simply couldn’t stand the pain anymore. He chose the time and place of his death. Himself. No tubes attached. we need a better word than suicide. any suggestions?

  • Nick Jones

    The Hemlock Society uses “self-deliverance”.

  • Eric Olsen

    they should team up with the jihadi “martyrs”

  • Greetings,I was introduced to Dr.Hunter S. Thompson’s “Gonzo- Journalism” style of reporting after reading “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail”; first published in the November 1972 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.This article was the featured cover story and it was illustrated by Ralph Steadman in this bright-abstract-flowing-color-spectrum-style(I believe it was R.S.’s first color issue)…from an acid head’s point of view…interpretting H.S.T.’s report.

  • Keith

    Lipstick on a pig don’t always look so bad. Hunter Thompson’s suicide is as ugly as it is fascinating. Blowing the back of your head off, with son and grandchild around is a bit off color……as is life, not always neat and tidy. Life has it’s moments, don’t ya think. Not for Hunter…….anymore.

  • I won’t condemn someone for killing themselves. I would never presume to tell someone how much pain of whatever kind they must endure.

    Still, the method really capped off his lack of consideration for others. Is the family supposed to sit around that kitchen table and eat now? That was a hell of thing to subject your 6 year old grandson to, right there in the house. Would it have put him out that much to just go off and do it out behind the barn or out in his woods?

  • bhw

    Is the family supposed to sit around that kitchen table and eat now?

    Actually, I think they sat around the table — with the body still there — and drank and toasted him and stuff. I don’t know if the grandson was there for that, though.

    Seems the family has bought into the whole HST schtick.

  • Yeah, here’s the story. That’s almost some kind of Addams family thing.

    If you were weird enough to be around HST, you might will yourself to an immediate act of drinking with the corpse like this. Suck it up for an hour to do something that Hunter might have wanted. It would seem to be a whole different order, though, to have to have this scene in mind every damned morning when you come down for breakfast.

  • bhw

    The most interesting line in that story:

    “He was in control here.”

    That says it all. They’ve drunk the Kool Aid.

  • Well, you can understand how the immediate family might be real anxious to frame this horrible situation in the best possible terms. What else could they do? This way of looking at it might understandably ease their pain.

  • bhw

    Well, they could have called the coroner first, then had the drinks.

  • [Cross-posted on similar posts …]

    I suspected that he might have killed himself from the [sarcasm] ignamamy of living in Bush’s America.[/sarcasm] Ever since Bush got elected, it was downhill for him. I did genuinely like HST, not because I agreed with more than 1% of what he wrote, but because he was simply a very interesting character. Any guy so willing to be a guinea pig has, by proxy, to be interesting.

    But he was very self-indulgent and this was the final proof of it. Can you imagine killing yourself, doing this to your family, just because you cannot “endure” another four years of Bush? My oh my … any shreds of respect I had for HST just faded away.

  • bhw

    MEM, self-indulgence isn’t just killing yourself.

    It’s also posting the same friggin’ comment on ten different entries.

  • chris brugos

    The way the guy died has nothing to do with who he was. The man was an unbelievable artist. My father an artist as well ended his life the same way, since then I am positive that suicide is not the end of the road for such amazing individuals. Let him go. That’s the way he’d want it. If it wasn’t his time this planet wouldn’t be here. Much love to his friends and family and to him.

  • christine

    I wonder if his health was failing – he doesn’t look too darn hot in some of the more recent pics. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had health issues. But did anyone see the article at Infowars.com (I know, the site is a little wacky) were they say he had typed the word “counselor” on a piece of letterhead from one of the constitution preservation legal orgs.? And something about him being on the verge of publishing a piece about the Twin Towers? How much truth is there in that, and where is the article!?

  • broodlinger

    Check the police report at thesmokinggun.

    *Juan called it in
    *Juan was firing a shotgun when police arrived
    *Juan was left alone with the corpse
    *Juan placed a scarf on the body
    *Typewriter was only discovered AFTER Juan was alone with the body
    *There was a counselor *on the premises* (called in with the coroner’s team) when the “counselor” page was discovered
    *Two deputies noticed the gun was UNDER the gun case
    *Both arms in his lap.
    *Wife’s story (on the phone/at the gym) is not corroborated. If she heard Thompson shoot himself, then she certainly had plenty of time (1.5+ hours) to drive home.

  • Brendan Fitzpatrick

    Browsing for Hunter S. Thompson articles(Oh how I miss him!)and came across yours re his suicide. Thought you might be interested to know that HST and John Denver were actually good friends as well as neighbors, although their relationship was sometimes strained by HST’s lunacy. For instance, the times he shot icicles off the eaves of John’s cabin with one of his many high-powered rifles, as was accurately depicted in Doonsbury cartoons from the 70’s.

    “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

  • Thanks Brendan. Yeah, I could see how HST shooting icicles off the side of MY house would cause a strain. It might SOUND cute, but a couple of incidents like that in this neighborhood, and ol’ boy probably would not have needed to commit suicide.