Hunter S. Thompson died by suicide at age 67 on Sunday at his home in Woody Creek, Colo. Over a raucous career that he began as sports editor of the Eglin Air Force Base newspaper in Florida in 1956, Thompson wrote about sports and politics with an unpredictably personal style that changed American culture. Intrigued by the NFL, heavyweight fights and big-game fishing as well as presidential campaigns, Thompson ripped across a hilarious landscape of his own invention peopled with friends and admirers from Muhammad Ali, Kenny Stabler and Jim Irsay to Bill Clinton and Johnny Depp. His first book, Hell's Angels (published in 1966), earned him the title "quintessential outlaw journalist" and an assignment to cover Nevada's Mint 400 motorcycle race for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, ultimately resulting in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), his "gonzo" masterpiece, which Tom Wolfe pronounced "a scorching, epochal sensation." Thompson went on to write a dozen more books, hundreds of magazine pieces and a long-running column for ESPN.com.
Cigarette smoke in the press box is now officially retired.