Christopher Hitchens is dead.

If you are familiar with Hitchens and his writing, you know that he was, more often than not, contrary and provocative. He never held back, and he wrote with a fearlessness comparable to H.L. Mencken or Hunter S. Thompson.

It's a trait I've admired in many writers, but few writers dare to take on topics or individuals the way Hitchens did. I don't know anyone who would have agreed with everything Hitchens wrote. At times he was embraced and shunned by both ends of the political spectrum. He was critical of Bill Clinton, Bob Hope, Mother Teresa, and Ronald Reagan, among many others. 

Hitchens was a staunch defender of military action in Iraq, but he was equally condemnatory of actions that took place in the name of the war on terror. He once subjected himself to waterboarding, and concluded that yes, it was and should be considered torture.

Whenever he set his eyes on a target, he unloaded with all the rhetorical weapons he could muster. His style was forceful and aggressive. He had heroes, but he didn't put them on pedestals.

He was a dissenter. He was a renegade. He was a skeptic.

And he was, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, an iconoclast.