Rolling Stone Pays Tribute to Thompson

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Rolling Stone (search) pays tribute to Hunter S. Thompson (search), whose name was on the magazine's masthead for 35 years, in its new issue.

"Hunter was part of the DNA of Rolling Stone, one of those twisting strands of chemicals around which a new life is formed," says Jann S. Wenner (search), editor in chief of the magazine.

In 31 pages, Wenner, Johnny Depp (search), Jack Nicholson (search), Pat Buchanan (search) and many others eulogize the 67-year-old "gonzo" journalist, who shot himself at his home in Aspen, Colo., on Feb. 20, after weeks of pain from a host of physical problems that included a broken leg and a hip replacement.

Most of Thompson's early writings appeared in Rolling Stone. In pieces of great length, he often portrayed himself as a wildly intoxicated observer and participant.

Contributing editor Mikal Gilmore recalls that after Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72" were published, both the magazine and the writer "had reached new heights."

The relationship wasn't always symbiotic, though. His purported fights with Wenner were rumored in many cases to hinge on expense accounts for stories that didn't happen.

But Wenner writes that editing Thompson was like "being the corner man for Ali." He remembers, "We used to read aloud what he just wrote, get to certain phrases or sentences and just exclaim to each other, `Hot (expletive) damn!'"

Writes Nicholson: "Hunter's probably the person who it is/was most easy to tell an entertaining anecdote about, but aside from that, when I think of him the word that often comes to me is genteel. Hunter was a Southern gentleman and a very fine American."