Page last updated at 19:30 GMT, Wednesday, 23 February 2005

Hunter S Thompson: Your tributes

Hunter S Thompson

The American writer Hunter S Thompson has been found dead, aged 67.

His son said that he had shot himself.

His books included Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hell's Angels, Generation of Swine and Songs of the Doomed.

The man who said "you have to know the material you're writing about before you alter it" wrote classics for the counterculture generation.

How accurately did Hunter S Thompson capture the distortions and reflections of the American dream? How influential was he?

Thank you for your tributes to Hunter S Thompson. Read a selection of your e-mails below.


Your tributes:

A very sad void has just appeared. There are too few true characters left in the world questioning that which needs to be questioned, replaced by nodding robots wearing that week's labels whilst forgetting what's important - truth. We love you Hunter. Many a glass will be raised in your name this week. See you on the other side?
Christy, London

A warrior for truth and honesty
James S, Manchester, UK

A warrior for truth and honesty. He fought for the underdog throughout his life, fully questioning the morality and ideals of the society in which he lived. Never has a writer been so inspirational and amusing, so tragic and brutally honest. This is an immensely sad day as we have lost quite possibly the most influential alternative writer of this generation. Rest in peace Hunter.
James S, Manchester, UK

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas...amazing. All that need be said. Many condolences to his friends and family, they have lost a great man. Rest easily Hunter S Thompson.
Gareth Williams, Worcester, Worcestershire

Within each piece he wrote there lay an indisputable truth which he could see, and after reading his words I could see too. The blog of counterculture was a distraction, he wrote of the hollowness in true American culture. His fear of manipulated media is mine too. (Why as an American living here in Bushville, I depend on BBC) His short article on the fall of Viet Nam while in Saigon is one of his best pieces. I think this summer I need to take a road trip and do some reflective reading.
Andy Cameron, Washington DC (Bushville)

Hunter was a true alternative icon for many disaffected decades of people striving to find some meaning in a time of great turbulence. His greatest works will someday be revered as other American giants of literature such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway. His legacy will endure in his best works for generations yet to come. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife and his son Juan.
Andy Duckworth, Leeds, England

There can hardly be a better example of the importance of a free press than the collected works of Hunter Thompson.
Tom Woods, Auburn, NY, USA

Like Kerouac and Ginsberg he was one of a clutch of American writers who for the first time peeled back the thin flesh of American 20th century confidence to reveal the true beating heart beneath. But like so many of my heroes he just couldn't hold on, and for this I would like to extend my condolences to his family and friends. Hopefully he is at peace now, free of the demons he seemed to be fighting.
John H, Liverpool, England

Hunter will remain an inspiration and an icon to all who search for truth
Michelle Greig, London, UK

Hunter will remain an inspiration and an icon to all who search for truth, make a stand, whilst recognising the inherent absurdity of it all. He will be sorely missed.
Michelle Greig, London, UK

Thompson will be greatly missed. His honesty, wit and charm when writing about the most depraved and ruthless of human acts sends shivers down the spine of the nervous reader. I'll never forget the opening paragraphs to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - insane, rapid and straight into a world of gut wrenching gonzo journalism. We love you HST.
Garry Crick, Canterbury, Kent

A visionary whose sight and aim were true to the end. Hunter S Thompson was able to engage us and share his unique ability to see clearly the dark side of our American culture. That he was able to do this in such a light-hearted and interesting way is a testament to his mastery. Without a doubt, the world has lost one of the few celebrities I would have liked the opportunity to meet.
Rowan M, Santa Cruz, USA

How sad that Duke finally gave in to his demons. He was the voice of an element of American culture: loud, uncompromising, caustic, suffering fools not at all....he will be missed by those of us anywhere in the world who do not seek comfort in the homogenised platitudes of hairspray journalism, slick political theatre or religious orthodoxy
Jose, Huntington,NY USA

Hunter Thompson was one of the few Americans of significant prominence left alive with the courage to tell the unvarnished truth in the public arena. There is no-one to replace him; for all his "dangerous" living, the world is more unsafe place with him gone.
Christopher Wilson, Woodacre, California

Hunter was a true enigma. A unique and engrossing writer capable of subverting any situation with his fantastic wit and somewhat warped mind. Hunter, in his writings, managed to capture the very essence of America, repeatedly ripping of the many layers of spin and falsehoods to reveal the barely beating blackened heart at its core. He was without a doubt the most humorous and exciting political journalist around an he will be sorely missed.
Tom Coombes, Dorchester, UK

Hunter was a titan of literature
Dan Pearson, Nottingham, England

Hunter was a titan of literature. Unapologetically brilliant and unnervingly and sometimes shamingly incisive he cut to the core of the rotten apple that is the American dream and showed us all the maggots within. Without his penetrating guidance the world can only ever be a more pompous, ignorant and ill-informed place. May his ashes be spread far and wide.
Dan Pearson, Nottingham England

A man who inspired until the end, from his flash wild acid adventures searching for the truth to his political commentary and insights. This is an individual who will be sorely missed as a person not afraid to report what he watched and lead the way for others to find there very own 'American dream'.
Martin, Northampton, UK

What tragic news to wake up to. HST was without doubt the greatest and most influential living American writer - the creator of gonzo, the satirical moralist, a writer who had not only the vision to cut to the rotten heart of America's self-delusion but the talent to write it as a work of art. Utterly outrageous and as much art as artist, Hunter, the world is already a slightly duller, slightly colder place.
Jamie Douglass, Leamington, UK

He changed journalism forever by placing himself, the individual, at the centre of the story and his commentaries on American life and politics provide a compelling critique of the reality of the American dream. He championed the reality of freedom, without ever disguising the risks that accompany it, and his death at a time when individual freedom is increasingly sacrificed for the sake of national security is a great loss.
Anthony Fell, Bath UK

I was rocked this morning as I watched the news and saw that HST had committed suicide. After being amazed by Fear and Loathing I took up reading his books and was refreshed by his free spirit and individualism. I really do wish more writers had just as much courage and conviction for what they hold true to really write and publish their opinion. Hunter you will be sorely missed.
Simon Casey, Christchurch, UK

A great man has passed, I'm still shocked by the news. I think we all owe it to HST to stand up and shout whenever we see hypocrisy and lies, to not just blindly accept what we're told and to get out there and stick it to 'em - not with violence and disorder but with the simple power and strength of words.
Terry Barnes, Brighton, UK

Hunter was an inspiration. His 'gonzo' style brought light to writing and helped reinvigorate and redefine the journalistic style. From the gritty realism portraying the awkwardness of the outsider in 'Hells Angels' to the cartoon comedy of the insane doctor of journalism in 'Fear and Loathing'. Hunter was the brightest of stars from the ranks of New Journalism and the light and freedom embodied by his writing and his life always reminds me of Kerouac's description of Neil Cassidy (Dean Moriarty) in On The Road; "the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes Awww!".
Paul Thomson, Edinburgh, Scotland

He told the unspeakable, forbidden and vulgar truth
Kevin Kaos, Sunnyvale, CA

Hunter Thompson was our modern day Delphinian Oracle. Through the haze of drugs, alcohol and excess, he told the unspeakable, forbidden and vulgar truth. For many of us, his writing provided the first brutal hint that the American Dream was a pre-packaged, mass-marketed lie. Today, when paid pundits spin the news and the apathetic American public is satiated with a high-cholesterol diet of bread and circuses, the clarion call of Thompson's voice will be well and truly missed. Although we know that none will ever take his place, we can only hope that his legacy has seeded the future with the cleansing hell-fire of gonzo outrage that this decadent and falling empire so desperately needs.
Kevin Kaos, Sunnyvale, CA

I hope Dr. Thompson's ideas and in particular, his attitude, will continue to interfere with the so called 'values' of all those he opposed. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
Andrew Brown, Pendle Hill, England

It's with a twisted gonzo snarl that I stare at the works of HST on my bookshelf, Generation of Swine, Shark Hunt, etc, read many many times and each time setting off fierce sparks of electro-recognition. Man, HST was something special, a voice we're not given to hear often, a Thomas Carlyle, somebody to slap hope down on your gloomy midnight table. Take care up there, Duke.
Ian Cowburn, France

"At the same time I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles - a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other - that kept me going." So the great man said. It's no surprise how he chose to stop, but gutting in these god forsaken times.
Jamil Ahmad, London, UK

I'm deeply shocked. Somehow, I thought that Hunter would go on forever, a thorn in the side of American political idiocy and complacency. There is nobody who can come close to replacing him. The world of journalism will seem a lot more grey without him. RIP.
Nicola Holt, Chorley, UK

The man was unique, as was his writing
Michael Kerr, Motherwell, UK

Everyone with a love of 20th century American literature will be in mourning today. We've lost a titan. The man was unique, as was his writing. Even though he was a bit of a recluse in his later days, the myth didn't ever diminish. Anyone who has read his analysis of Nixon's administration will realise that we've lost more than Hunter. Can you imagine anyone having the guts to write something like that today? Or to get away with it?
Michael Kerr, Motherwell, UK

Champion of the underdog, the man of mystery and father of 'Gonzo Journalism'. A virulent purveyor as to boundaries and limits of the US legal system, stretching them like rubber bands by state. The world is heavy for his loss but at least he lived his life not half full, but brimming over even too the end. I am sure if there is a nether world he is causing some sort of mischief in it. If we could bestow a job upon one man to be the lifelong chronicler of this world, the job would indeed be his.
Christian McMullen, London, England

This is a very dark day for aspiring writers like myself. I have been a fan of Thompson's work since his days at Rolling Stone and cannot express my sadness at hearing that he has taken his own life. Thompson's work showed a versatility and uniqueness that will not be matched again in my lifetime, nor I suspect, in that of several generations to come. To say he will be missed is an understatement of colossal proportions. RIP Hunter. Your work will live on in the hearts and minds of your thousands of devoted fans.
Belinda Knight, Perth, Australia

A voice of clarity, freedom, truth, reason and humour is gone. He wrote about many things unpretty in this country and in doing so shone a light on many of the hypocrisies of our nation. His words, needed now more then ever, will be sorely missed.
David Sobelsohn, Chicago, IL USA

He will be sadly missed, especially by all the American people who don't believe everything their government tells them.
Peter Adam, Hong Kong

The last great bastion of truth has finally been seized. He was one of a rare breed that could make you cry with laughter at the madness and sadness of American reality. Finally he has time to rest. Your friend in love and war.
Michael L, Dublin, Ireland

Condolences to his family but shouldn't one also consider that maybe his views, his kind of thinking, led him to his own demise? As for the American dream? It's alive and well. I wouldn't expect those that do not even live in America to understand that, or to understand what it is in the first place. It's also pretty clear that the author, himself, lived that American dream.
Allen, CA, USA

A genius: he showed us the real depravity of the 60's and 70's lay in the politicians of the day. The great Shark Hunt is a great collection of his writings; the parts on the Nixon years giving a scary glimpse into the inner workings of American politics that possibly gives us some of the answers as to where the US is at in the present day.
Paul Herwin, St Albans, UK

Right now the world needs people like Hunter more than ever. This is truly a sad day
Giles, UK

Hunter S Thompson's book Hell's Angels had a major influence on me in my 20s. I recently read a piece about him and George W Bush that was as amusing as it was frightening (about Dubwa). It is no surprise that his life ended thus. He was one of the C20th's great writers and we are the poorer for his passing.
David Turner, Shropshire UK

As someone who grew up in the shadow of Mr. Thompson and lived to sit at the local coffee house and pick his brain, I am beyond sad right now. He was my hero and a local legend to say the least. There just aren't words to say how sad it is that none of us will get the pleasure of his art and presence again. I hope that he is at peace and has some idea of the many artists he inspired to pursue to their craft.
Chris Blocker, Louisville, KY USA

His seemingly unending bile for America was borne of a deep love for the country
R Massara, Leeds, England

I hope that everyone who indulged in Thompson's work is a shocked as I am that this man could have taken his own life? He lived life by the scruff of the neck and survived some of the most conservative and oppressive decades of Americas history and never once thought about giving in, or bowing down to anyone. His seemingly unending bile for America was borne of a deep love for the country and I cannot, will not believe that his strength of spirit and character just gave out, allowing himself to take such an easy way out. He will be greatly missed. The world today is a slightly poorer place.
R Massara, Leeds, England

I first read HST when like many others, I was passed on a well-thumbed copy of Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas by my wicked stepmother, I will love her forever for introducing me to the genius of Hunter. He was a shining light of reason in a world of madness and he will be sorely missed. RIP Hunter
Terry Osborn, Bristol, UK

Hunter S. Thompson was a true original - the sort of person we are losing to age or worse, one by one and whom the structures and strictures of our culture and society can no longer replace. He will be fondly remembered and sorely missed by the countless people around the world that he spent his artistic life amusing, informing, and challenging.
Jay Sorrels, London, UK

Probably the finest political journalist of his generation. Sadly overlooked in this regard in the UK though. HST was one of the few writers capable of turning pure vitriol into an art form. He will be sadly missed.
Steve Parkinson, London, UK

I've been reading HST since I was 14. His Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail crystallized my desire to write - not as an impartial outsider but as an involved member of society. He cared too much; that's why he died.
Michelle, St Girons, France

Here's to the man who taught me how to shake my fist at the sky
Si, UK

I was shocked when I first heard this, but then I thought hey, Hunter would have probably written that it's good to go out with a bang. I will miss his unique ability to laugh at everything and everyone, no matter what the context. Here's to the man who taught me how to shake my fist at the sky.
Si, UK

Dr Thompson took the American myth of heroic individualism, turned it through 180 degrees and rode it as hard as he could against the traffic. It was one of the bravest and smartest lives I've seen.
Greg, Brighton, UK

It was with great sadness that I read the news this morning. He was an icon and a true original, not to mention the only person I've ever read who can turn a Presidential primary into interesting reading. He will truly be missed, America doesn't produce figures like him anymore, and they're needed now more than ever. RIP, Hunter.
Claire Hynes, The Hague, Netherlands

The man encouraged, conspired, and summed up a common ideal amongst generations of citizens opposed to the bizarre fantasy that is the American Dream. Arthur Miller and now H.S. Thompson? The honoured critics of the American dream and all of its shortcomings are slowly fading from view.
Eric Porter, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Hunter had a view on life that most would not allow themselves to see, but was hard to ignore once expressed. A great writer who's probably happier where he is now
Brent, Minneapolis Minnesota

Truly one of the great counter-culture idols of our time. A great loss for anyone who can appreciate the man's desire to buck the system.
Richard Lamb, Islington, London

In an age when everyone and everything appeared to be insane, Hunter S Thompson was a voice of sanity howling in the wind. A terribly sad, and yet somehow fitting, endpoint to his brilliant career.
Travis, Johannesburg, South Africa

He was a champion for individual freedom as well as for justice
A Schultz, Milwaukee, USA

To me Thompson will forever live on as a warrior against hypocrisy in American society, he attacked the aspects of American life that didn't mesh with our stated values. He was a champion for individual freedom as well as for justice. Many will remember him for his contributions to the counterculture, but he was far more then that, he was a true American fighting for the right to be free in the land that so clearly wasn't and still isn't what it claims to be.
A Schultz, Milwaukee, USA

The man provided an important alternative mind to contemporary politics and culture. His views, as personal and distorted as they were, were blatantly naked, piercing the bubble of image and front so pervasive today. Highly entertaining in its subversive ness.
Scott Smith, Cape Town, South Africa

Hunter found humour in the ugliest sides of humanity, his own and other's, while evoking pathos and empathy for parts of ourselves that most of us refrain from knowing too intimately, if at all. He was that rare thing, a person completely invested in what he was. Journalism, Gonzo or not, will never be the same. His insight will be missed. His legend will live on. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Hunter was a pro long before any of the rest of us knew it might be possible.
Michael Grey, USA

In a country where media and impartially are ships passing in the night... dissention from the approved corporate message is important... an important voice in the sea of American complacency and ignorance has been lost.
Stuart O, California

Hunter Thompson was the most fearless writer I've ever read. He would take on anybody, anywhere, any time and call them out for the fools, and pious frauds they were - politicians, especially. And do so viciously and hilariously. He was widely imitated by younger writers who read his pieces in Rolling Stone. But he was never equalled. A giant of American letters has fallen.
Larry Platt, Costa Mesa, California USA

Dr. Thompson was clearly brilliant in his ability to communicate from multiple points of view. He took journalism seriously; something that is missing in so many American news organizations today. I first saw him at UCLA in 1973. His books have always been startling - and often brought home the point that what you see is not always what you get. He was able to dig into the heart of his subjects and to bring those topics to his readers in crisp, detailed and often humorous style. I will miss him.
David Barrett, USA

The end of an era. One can hope that wherever HST now is, that he's giving a hard time to anyone who deserves it.
E Holmes, Vancouver, BC

Dr Hunter S Thompson fanatic infusion of imagery, powerful anecdotes, coupled with anarchy of the mind, all the while "reporting" on the insanity of the America festering around him - will be missed by a globe searching for answers and understanding into the Red State bible thumping madness of America. Gonzo Journalism is a lost art, reporters now are never allowed to get close to reality, never push themselves inside the story, and never take risks using the truth of their sometimes vile observations of what is happing in our world. We needed him now more than ever.
David Strummer, Campbell, California

His honesty was unwavering
John D., New York, New York

Dr. Thompson had the ability to see the inherent violence beneath the lie of American morality. His honesty was unwavering, and his aim unerring as recorded the continuing betrayal of the dreams of a generation. What died with him was the last remnants of courage in journalism and the willingness to speak the truth.
John D., New York, New York

The king is dead, long live the king. The number of people inspired to become journalists by HST will never be known but surely they are legion. Hell's Angels, Shark Hunt, Fear and Loathing, classics all. Never will there be another like him. He would never have gone peacefully. He fought it until the end, like Hemingway. RIP.
Mark Crozier, Durban, South Africa

Possibly the finest political journalist the USA produced in the last 30 years, I'll miss his unique mix of humour, outrage and clarity as he documented the downward spiral that had become the American dream.
Paul Marsh, Sheffield UK

The voice from the soft underbelly of America is no more. Thank you for your often acerbic, always controversial insights into the seedy world of superpower politics. You will be sorely missed by more than one generation.
Dr David M. Smith, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

From his weird, fish eye lens perspective at the heart of the fray, Thompson came the closest of any writer to explaining the deeper, flawed truths of the American Dream to those who couldn't accept the official "apple pie" version that pervades the mainstream media. He embodied, in his life and writing, the explosive cultural shifts of the sixties and seventies, bringing back the real story from the sharp end of life.
Mark, London UK

His was a rare and special talent
Ken Layne, Reno, Nevada, USA

Hunter Thompson was a great American writer, and the finest wordsmith of the West since Mark Twain. His was a rare and special talent, never to be seen again. Hunter brought wisdom and joy and madness and skill to so very many people around the world. He had a heart like a lion. He will always be missed, and I am saddened that I will never again read a new crazy screed from Dr. Thompson.
Ken Layne, Reno, Nevada, USA

An intelligent and insightful writer, Hunter S Thompson. He had a lot to say and I am very happy that I was able to listen and learn. It is a sad day to know that he is gone.
Ryan S, Denver, CO, USA

It is most tragic that Dr. Thompson died at a time when America is so far removed from the essential decency at its core. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.
Kevin Baca, California, USA

Really sorry to hear he has left us. He is one of the brave, one of the truth tellers.
Rachel Miller, Auckland New Zealand

The last sharp edge of American journalism is gone, broken off before it was worn down. Nothing is left but self-congratulating cheerleaders who are afraid of being skewered by writing the truth in any way but a pure recitation of facts. It is clear to anyone that the world is being manipulated to make fact-based reporting a blur to the senses, with no ability to discern the facts that have been placed from the ones that are uncovered. If truth is stranger than fiction, sometimes fiction is the only way to tell the truth about a purposefully distorted world. We didn't deserve HST, in either sense of the term. But we had him, and for small moments while he spoke or wrote "fiction" our truth became clear.
Jesse S, New York

Hunter S. Thompson was one of a select few of American writers to bring forth politics to the masses afresh, in a blunt and entertaining manner. With his equal devotion to classic democratic ideals and the American literary tradition in his work, it is a deep, and sad, loss for today's culture. It goes beyond as just a loss for fans, admirers, and the world of journalism - we are left without this kind of a voice in a time still of such political depravity, and even more so, cultural decay and backwardness...
Katie Szymanski, Toronto, Canada

His passing is very sad to those who knew his work. I think his writing resonated with many generations, from the late sixties to present day readers. He represented something beyond the "hippy" movement in America, more intellectual, biting, erudite... perhaps a more realistic portrayal of the changing times. In my head, there was a marked difference between the Hunter we saw captured by the media, and the one sitting solitary at the Selectric... wondering where to start with the desperate state of affairs in US politics/policy.
Jay, Seatle, WA USA

Hunter was a hero to the many counter-culture faithful. His shocking death comes as a shock to many. His constant search for the truth from the outcasts of society to the hypocrisy in politics should remain his gift to the world. His death comes at a time where America is in a state of fear and general anxiety. A voice like his which only beckons for the truth stands in great juxtaposition to the modern propaganda media machine within America. He was a symbol of the damage that frail leadership creates. I will remember his humour and point-on observations from his books and letters. Hunter, he's one hoping your spirit lives on.
Chris Cabeen, Los Angeles, United States




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