Christopher Hitchens

Controversial writer Christopher Hitchens, whose works slammed religion as well as such public figures as Mother Teresa and Henry Kissinger, has died, according to the Vanity Fair. He was 62.

Hitchens, who was a contributing editor to the magazine for nearly two decades, died of pneumonia at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after a long battle with esophageal cancer.

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"Christopher Hitchens was a wit, a charmer, and a troublemaker, and to those who knew him well, he was a gift from, dare I say it, God," Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter wrote. "You'd be hard-pressed to find a writer who could match the volume of exquisitely crafted columns, essays, articles, and books he produced over the past four decades."

Born in Portsmouth, England, Hitchens studied at Oxford before writing for the left-wing magazine The New Statesman. He eventually moved to the U.S. and in the 1990s began appearing on cable television where he famously criticized then-president Bill Clinton. In 1992, he joined Vanity Fair, where he wrote controversial essays about such high-profile people as Michael Moore, Mel Gibson, George W. Bush and Mother Teresa. In a 2004 piece for Slate about Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Hitchens wrote, "Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of 'dissenting' bravery."

Hitchens also wrote many books, including the 2007 bestseller, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. The author published his final collection, Arguably, this past September.

Hitchens, who was married twice, is survived by his three children.

Watch a recent interview with Hitchens: