Wife says Thompson was ‘at the peak of his life’
DENVER – Anita Thompson still slips into the present tense when she talks about the magic of her marriage to the legendary writer Hunter S. Thompson, and how her life plunged into a nightmare when he committed suicide last weekend.”He says he has a perfect life now, he loves me very much, he’s writing well,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday.But months ago he began saying that suicide would be an honorable way to die, while he was at the top of his game. On Sunday, Thompson, best known for wildly original books like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” shot himself in the head.She was overwhelmed by horror when she heard the news – “I kept repeating, screaming, ‘No, no, no!”- but the anguish has faded and now she talks calmly, if sometimes tearfully, about the moment he swept her off her feet, the brilliance she saw in his writing, her plans to keep alive his legacy and the countless love letters he wrote her that help ease the pangs of grief and regret.When a mutual friend introduced them about five years ago, “I got butterflies,” she said. Soon they were spending hours together, compiling his letters into a book.”It was wonderful, just so wonderful. I fell in love with him right away.” Despite his cultivated image as a drug-driven wild man who invented “gonzo journalism,” she saw something else: “This man is not a crazy gonzo freak, this man is a serious man of letters, a Southern gentleman.”They lived together at Thompson’s home in the hamlet of Woody Creek near Aspen for three years and married April 24, 2003.She described a life of love, laughter and work on her husband’s writing. Sometimes Hunter, 67, would tell Anita, 32, how he wanted his affairs handled after he died. But in the last few months, she said, he began to say that suicide wasn’t a dishonorable thing.”He feels at the peak of his life right now, has a very successful career, has a network of perfect friends,” she said. “If he quit now, he would feel he was a champion.”She argued furiously against suicide. “I threatened him, ‘I’m out of here,’ I wouldn’t mourn, I would hate him,” she said. “That’s my biggest regret. I’m so sorry, Hunter. Yeah, that’s my biggest regret.”Still, she didn’t think he would take his life any time soon.
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.