One of counterculture writer Hunter S Thompson’s closest friends said he was not surprised at his suicide because he had been in a lot of pain after a broken leg and hip surgery.
“I never expected Hunter to die in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of him,” said George Stranahan, a former owner of the Woody Creek Tavern, one of Thompson’s favourite hangouts in Aspen, Colorado.
Thompson, aged 67, died in his home on Sunday evening from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Pitkin County Coroner Dr Steve Ayers said last night.
Authorities refused to say whether a note was found. Thompson’s body was found by his son, Juan.
Investigators recovered the weapon, a .45-calibre handgun.
The acerbic writer popularised a new form of fictional journalism in books like Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas,
Thompson is credited with pioneering New Journalism – or, as he dubbed it, “gonzo journalism” – in which the writer made himself an essential component of the story. Much of his earliest work appeared in Rolling Stone magazine.
Neighbours in Woody Creek, where Thompson lived, said a broken leg had kept him from getting out as often as in the past, including to the tavern.
But Shep Harris, who now owns the tavern, said Thompson would sometimes slip in for a drink and a smoke if no one else was there.
Patrons normally are not allowed to light up because the tavern does not have a separate smoking area, but if Thompson were the only customer, he got a waiver.
“We called it the Hunter Rule,” Harris said.