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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 09:02 GMT
Hunter S Thompson commits suicide
Hunter S Thompson
The writer was found dead at his home near Aspen, Colorado
Hunter S Thompson, the American counterculture writer, has been found dead at his home in Colorado.

Thompson's son, Juan, found his body. He said the 67-year-old shot himself.

He is best-known for his 1972 account of a drug-addled Nevada trip, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Other books are Hells Angels and Generation of Swine.

Thompson pioneered "gonzo journalism", a factual style in which the writer was an essential part of the story, and was an acute observer of American life.

Decadence and depravity

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."

Tricia Louthis, spokeswoman for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, said it appeared the writer had committed suicide.

"We do have confirmation that Hunter Thompson was found dead this evening of an apparent self-inflicted wound," she said.

Thompson was known for his observations on the decadence and depravity of American life.

Benicio Del Toro, Hunter S Thompson and Johnny Depp at the premier of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Thompson was portrayed on screen by Johnny Depp

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas became a psychedelic classic, telling the story of Thompson's drug-hazed road trip across the western US in search of the American Dream.

The story was eventually made into a movie starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro.

Author Martin A Lee, who met and interviewed Thompson on a number of occasions, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that Thompson's death was "sad" but "not surprising", describing him as someone who "lived on the edge".

He said: "[Thompson] did bequeath a very significant body of literature and journalism.

"It is wonderful and exuberant writing that opened a cultural space for other writers to follow".

Recent work

Thompson also wrote the satire Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.

"Fiction is based on reality unless you're a fairytale artist," he told Associated Press news agency 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."

The writer's first ever novel, The Rum Diary, written in 1959, was only published in 1998.

His most recent work was Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness, a collection of his columns.

Writer Martin A Lee speaks about Hunter S Thompson

Obituary: Hunter S Thompson
21 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Hunter S Thompson: Your tributes
21 Feb 05 |  Have Your Say
Thompson's classic Las Vegas trip
21 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Fear and Loathing at the Book Festival
25 Aug 98 |  Entertainment

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