Author, journalist and public intellectual Christopher Hitchens announced Wednesday that he will undergo treatment for cancer of the esophagus, thereby cutting short his current book tour.
Hitchens made the announcement via a statement posted on Vanity Fair’s website, a publication for which he regularly contributes.
“I have been advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me. I regret having had to cancel so many engagements at such short notice,” Hitchens said.
The English-born Hitchens, 61, was in the middle of a book tour to promote his newly released memoir “Hitch 22.”
Hitchens, a noted enfant terrible in the literary world, is a well-known public figure who appears regularly on TV and has had his work published in a myriad of magazines including The New Statesman, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate & The Nation. He also published several books including his recent atheist tome "God is Not Great."
He is well-known for his prolific consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. It was reported that the chain-smoking Hitchens gave up smoking cigarettes in 2008, though a profile piece in the Washington Post earlier this month showed that he was still indulging in the habit. In 2003 he famously quipped that his daily intake of alcohol was enough "to kill or stun the average mule."
Hitchens, once a darling of the left, famously underwent an ideological shift in recent years, especially after 9/11, that saw him support the Iraq war and lose the support of many of his former admirers.
Hitchens became an American citizen in 2007. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Carol.