Originally Posted by Ligeia
Not sure that I match the "sad" sentiment.
Hitchens lived exactly the sort of life that is appropriate for his character. He lived life big and hard. His smoking and drinking habits are legendary, and he did not persist in them out of ignorance. The well known idiom "Better to burn out than to fade away" might be in some way appropriate here.
Certainly the world is worse off for the dearth of quality polemicists and literary lights who are reminiscent of what I'd consider a better time in English writing. Still, to have had such a light and to have been able to appreciate it is an incredible opportunity afforded to, in the grand scheme, astonishingly few who can appreciate it.
Death always seems tough to deal with, but it is an inevitability that, in some sense, makes playing the game of life all the more relevant, important, and fantastic.
I think "sad", used in terms of a feeling of loss, is totally apropos. Whatever gene he'd inherited from his father (himself an esophageal cancer victim), cut his life short. Who knows how many more years he might have had to write if nature had been on his side. The life expectancy of the average male from the United States is 75. That's 13 years right there. Had he lived to 82? 20 more years. He'd often said - after being asked the inevitable lifestyle questions - that if he'd been able to go back, he wouldn't change a thing, and I believe him, but that's no matter to those of us who chomped at our fingernails, waiting for his next scribble. (His thoughts on cancer, death and dying were honest, brilliant and moving.) It's a terrible loss to quite a few, myself included. Imagine an 82-year-old Christopher Hitchens! It's sad that that's the best we can do now.