Christopher Hitchens was as divisive as they come in print, but the news of his death has elicited a universal outpouring of grief and respect from the journalistic community — and from some unlikely sources.
As is now customary, many took to Twitter to offer their thoughts, from Hitchens’ friend Salman Rushdie to famed American cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Some went with direct praise and tribute.
Rushdie tweeted, “Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops. Christopher Hitchens, April 13, 1949-December 15, 2011.”
Jonathan Alter, Bloomberg columnist, tweeted “I met #Hitchens in '83 and we argued amiably ever since, once til 3 am. In awe of his wit, erudition and lubricated work ethic. Very sad.”
Also read Hollyblog: Why Christopher Hitchens Mattered
The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof added “RIP Christopher Hitchens, brilliant essayist with the chutzpah to attack Mother Teresa and God.”
Celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain: “Christopher Hitchens RIP. The world just got a helluva a lot dumber.”
Armstrong: "Chris Hitchens has passed. His courage & candor about cancer was incredible. #braveandbrilliantman."
There were others who took to tweeting Hitchens’ work or some of his quotes, like Roger Ebert.
“A Hitchens essay in which he questions much of what he had been told about dying,” and “’Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.’ ~ Christopher Hitchens,” were two of Ebert’s tweets.
Meanwhile, some made light of Hitchens’ penchant for incessant verbal combat.
“I would tell Christopher Hitchens to rest in peace, but that would be impossible,” Jeff Jarvis tweeted.
The Onion: “Fumbling, Inarticulate Obituary Writer Somehow Losing Debate To Christopher Hitchens.”
Or his love of drinking.
Patton Oswalt: "So appropriate that I'm trembly-drunk on a bottle and 1/2 of wine when I hear of Christopher Hitchens' death. G'bye, Hitch."
But if one needed any proof of Hitchens’ impact and far-reaching respect, the Atlantic’s Nicholas Jackson has it: The New York Times changed its front page well into the night to put Hitchens’ obituary on it .
“That is, the most influential newspaper in the world has put its work and printing process on hold to make room on the front page for the obituary of a single man. If that isn't a testament to his work, I don't know what is.”