For good or ill, Hunter S Thompson took his own life on the 20th February 2005 at 5.30pm in his Aspen home. Although he had been in pain from a hip replacement, broken leg and back surgery, his son Juan said he really didn’t believe it was motivated by pain.
Thompson began and ended his career as a sports journalist, his very last piece being for an online sports magazine (about a new form of golf he had devised with the help of film start Bill Murray), but he is more commonly known as an author of a dozen books with his most famous & best loved work being ‘Fear and Loathing in La Vegas’. He’s also credited as being the inventor of ‘gonzo’ journalism in which the writer moved into centre stage and then created the story around him and his actions. Thompson sets the scenes alight with his driving force and madness, his journeys are certainly not for the faint hearted or the straight-edged conservatives amongst us.
He was also heavily into current affairs, inspired by his active involvement in many political campaigns and causes in the 1970’s as well as nearly being voted sheriff of Aspen, his highly respected piece of literature ‘Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail’ became notorious for it’s brutal opinions & thought patterns. Even in recent years his opinions on the state of US politics still mattered and while John Kerry was in Aspen in 2004 on his Presidential campaign, he appointed Thompson as his official host giving him pride of place in his motorcade and jokingly considered making him Vice-President, for his part Thompson is quoted as saying ‘Four more years of Bush would be like four more years of syphilis’.
Even though Hunter S has now passed into the ether, his legacy and work will live on for years to come, ‘Fear and Loathing in La Vegas’ is already hailed as a modern classic and lets face it, such highly charged, exhilarating, colourful, madness drenched, twisted adventures could not be ignored by people who dance a different beat. I’m sure though, his work will be praised by thousands of wild throats for many years to come and for the people who didn’t/don’t understand or those who thought Thompson was just a drug taking, hard drinking lowlife bum, his death is probably not such a great loss so I’ll end this article with a quote that Thompson once said to his friend, the artist Ralph Steadman ‘Fuck them Ralph, we’re not like the others’.
Scribed by: Mark Burns