I'm very, very, saddened as I learned that Christopher Hitchens has left us after only 62 years of a brilliant, dedicated life.

Before I type one more word, I'll point out that those angry, frustrated, hateful, frightened, detractors were simply wrong when they predicted that he would turn to some deity or other before he died; that would not have been the Christopher that I knew, the brave warrior who wielded his pen as a sword and thereby cut such a shining path before him. I'm certain that as he closed his eyes he was aware that he'd done an excellent job, he'd said his piece, he'd reached so many people around the world who needed to know that they were not under the command of any jealous, vengeful, insecure, capricious, cruel, god who created them and then played with them like helpless toys to satisfy divine whims.  Christopher was one of my giants...

I'll miss him, but I'll try to carry his message to others who've not yet heard it, though my words will not read as well, nor will my phrasing of them approach Christopher's standards.  However, I choose to respect him by always referring to him as "Christopher," since he seriously disliked "Chris."  Please join me in that nicety.

Yes, it could be said that Hitchens was unwise about his heavy smoking and drinking, which may have brought about his too-early demise, but he was a fully mature adult who made those decisions for himself.  I have inveighed in the past against those unwise practices because they have cost me other good friends and family, and I myself am certainly not free enough of “sin” to cast any stone in his direction.

As I write this, I'm told that The New York Times has stopped the presses to include Christopher's obituary on their front page, and I swear that I could hear him guffawing at that. We so much enjoyed his wit and wise words at the The Amaz!ng Meetings he graced with his presence, and we will feel this loss every time we stand before a TAM audience.

Goodbye, Christopher.  These tears in my eyes are of pure joy at having known you.

James Randi.