The eminent brain surgeon and entrepreneur had been suffering for some years from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the human equivalent of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. He was attended only by several Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officials and a gaggle of rabid bats.
Dr. Thompson had a long and distinguished career in the Foreign Service, serving most recently as Proconsul to Iraq. He had served under every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, frequently in dangerous undercover assignments for the Office of Strategic Services, and its successor, the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hunter Thompson was born in Louisville, KY in 1912, the son of immigrant parents. His father operated one of the first adult silent movie parlors in America. He attended Choate and Yale, where he was a member of Skull and Bones. He did graduate work at the Columbia University School of Journalism, receiving the Ph.D. in Gonzo in 1939.
Among the many honors he received over the course of his life are the Order of the Rising Sun, Order of the British Empire, Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, and the Secret Golden Cufflinks. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts, the Académie Française, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Kings and Queens of Britain.
President Bush, traveling in Europe, was immediately informed of the death. In a statement, he said: "The nation has lost a humble, dedicated and loyal servant. He was a faithful and trusted confidant. Many times Dr. Thompson shared his wisdom over margaritas and grapefruits and several lines of Colombian cocaine at the White House prayer breakfast and often I felt the presence of the Almighty. One time we got down on our knees and asked the Lord whether we should bomb Fallujah again and the answer was always 'Why the hell not?' "
After a state funeral, Dr. Thompson will be buried with full military honors and a 21-gun salute in Arlington Cemetery.