12/16/2011 05:55 am ET Updated Jul 29, 2013

Christopher Hitchens: Friends, Fans Mourn The Late Journalist And Atheist

Note from the Editor: Journalist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens died on Dec. 15 of pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer. He was 62. The following are quotes of remembrance from his friends and fans.

"Christopher was the beau ideal of the public intellectual. You felt as though he was writing to you and to you alone. And as a result many readers felt they knew him. Walking with him down the street in New York or through an airplane terminal was like escorting a movie star through the throngs." --Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter

"Over the course of his heroic, uncomplaining 18-month battle with the cancer, I found myself rehearsing what I might say to an obituary writer, should one ring after the news of Christopher's death. I thought to say something along the lines -- the air of Byron, the steel pen of Orwell, and the wit of Wilde." --Satirist Christopher Buckley

"Editing Christopher Hitchens, who died Thursday at the age of 62, was the easiest job in journalism. He never filed late -- in fact, he was usually early, even when he was clearly very sick -- and he managed to make his work seem like a great lark. His weekly e-mails always read the same jaunty way: 'Herewith. Hope it serves, As always, Christopher.'" --Slate editor June Thomas

"Like all of us, he was often wrong, but never in the way everyone else was wrong. His originality was a constant, his independence an unstoppable engine. He loved to argue and debate, not because he was a bully but because he thought it pointed in the direction of truth. And possibly because he was better at it than anyone else." --Journalist Jacob Weisberg

"Few have written so movingly, so bravely and with such self-awareness about coming to terms with impending death. The announcement of a 'Pray for Christopher Hitchens Day' must have caused him more than a wry smile. 'Don't bother unless it makes you feel better,' he said. There could be few less likely deathbed conversions." --Patrick Gallagher, Hitchens' Australian publisher

"We shall miss you, your voice, your pen, & most of all your mind Christopher. The world is better because of you." --Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic magazine

"Goodbye, my beloved friend. A great voice falls silent. A great heart stops. " --Author Salman Rushdie

"Christopher Hitchens, finest orator of our time, fellow horseman, valiant fighter against all tyrants including God." --Author Richard Dawkins