20 February 2005
On this day in 2005 Hunter Stockton Thompson, father of gonzo journalism and author of cult classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, took his own life.
Hunter S Thompson was known for his work as a journalist through his groundbreaking work in documenting the inside workings of the Hell’s Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Club, for his lifelong substance use and abuse including of alcohol, LSD and Mescaline among others, his love of firearms and his hatred of Richard M Nixon.
Thompson was an anti-authoritarian cult hero who revolutionised journalism by becoming involved in the subject matter about which he was writing to such an extent that the journalist becomes integral tot he action of the story being reported. His expose on the Hell’s Angels and his work illuminating the goings on on the campaign trail during the 1972 Presidential Election defined his contribution to journalism and earned him the title of the father of gonzo journalism.
But internationally it is perhaps for his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for which he is best known. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a story of drugs and excess told from the perspective of the affected and provides a window into the workings of the drug affected mind. The book and later the movie of the book give an insight into what being affected by hallucinogenic drugs is like.
Hunter S Thompson’s ‘suicide note’, written some four days before his death read:
No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun – for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax – This won’t hurt.