- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2011

Reactions to the death of author and pundit Christopher Hitchens:

_ “Christopher Hitchens was a complete one-off, an amazing mixture of writer, journalist, polemicist, and unique character.

“He was fearless in the pursuit of truth and any cause in which he believed. And there was no belief he held, that he did not advocate with passion, commitment and brilliance. He was an extraordinary, compelling and colorful human being whom it was a privilege to know.” _ former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

_ “Christopher Hitchens was everything a great essayist should be: infuriating, brilliant, highly provocative and yet intensely serious.

“I worked as an intern for him years ago. My job was to fact check his articles. Since he had a photographic memory and an encyclopedic mind it was the easiest job I’ve ever done.” _ Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

_ “Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops. Christopher Hitchens, April 13, 1949-December 15, 2011.” _ author Salman Rushdie in a post on his Twitter page.

_ “I think he was one of the greatest orators of all time. He was a polymath, a wit, immensely knowledgeable, and a valiant fighter against all tyrants including imaginary supernatural ones.” _ British author and professor Richard Dawkins.

_ “Christopher just swam against every tide. He was supporting the Polish and Czech resistance in the 1970s. He supported Mrs. Thatcher because he thought getting rid of the Argentinian fascist junta was a good idea. … He was a cross between Voltaire and Orwell.

“He would drink a bottle of whisky when I would manage two glasses of wine and then be up in the morning writing 1,000 perfect words. He could throw words up into the sky and they fell down in a marvelous pattern.” _ British lawmaker Denis Macshane told BBC radio.

_ “There will never be another like Christopher. A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar.” _ Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

_ “Right at the very end, when he was at his most feeble as this cancer began to overwhelm him, he insisted on a desk by the window away from his bed at the ICU. It took myself and his son to get him into that chair with a pole and eight lines going into his body, and there he was, a man with only a few days to live, turning out 3,000 words to meet a deadline. And then finishing it and thinking, well maybe I’ve got an hour or two, I’ll write something on Memorial Day in English poetry.” _ Novelist Ian McEwan told BBC.