Ed Bradley is a correspondent for CBS' "60 Minutes."
Hunter's been a friend for 30 years. I met him in 1975, during the presidential campaign. During the campaign we talked almost -- well, he was on the road then much more than in recent years, but we talked almost every day. Even when he wasn't on the road with the campaign, we'd check in with each other at night or in the morning, usually late at night more than in the morning. And we'd talk politics, and life.
Page 2 contacted several of Hunter S. Thompson's closest friends for their recollections:
We talked to him a couple of weeks ago, and I saw him at Christmas. I moved to Woody Creek because of Hunter. He invited me in 1976 to come out to Aspen for a weekend. I fell in love with the valley and ended up buying a condominium in town. And then got tired of the bustle of town and bought a house on a quiet dead-end road in Woody Creek. Hunter and I were neighbors.
I was totally shocked. It's hard to believe. He came to dinner Christmas night, brought a whole bunch of Gonzo clothing, Gonzo underwear, Gonzo T-shirts, gave Gonzo thongs to the women. He was in great form.
I think Hunter got a lot of attention for his lifestyle, but the thing that impressed me most about Hunter was his eye as an observer. I mean, even with the excess of his life, he could cut right through to the core of the problem. He could show through his words, he could paint a picture that any reader could understand. I covered the campaign, it was my first campaign, and I read all of the heavyweights -- David Broder and Jules Witcover and Jack Germond. Hunter was as good as any of them.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations can be made to:
The Hunter S. Thompson Foundation
He was a freak of nature. I told Bob Braudis, the sheriff of Pitkin County and probably Hunter's closest friend out there, many years ago, "You know, one day I'm going to get a call, probably from you, telling me that Hunter's dead. And my reaction will be, "You know, I'm not surprised. He lasted longer than I thought he would."
But when I got the call Sunday night, I was surprised. Because I never, never expected Hunter to take his own life.
He was a great friend. He was there. As much pain as he was in this summer, he came to -- I got married this summer in Woody Creek, at my house down by the river, and Hunter came to the bachelor party, he came to the dinner party the night before, and he came to the wedding. And he was in serious pain. He had to leave the wedding early. He was supposed to make a toast. And he had to leave.