Award-winning war correspondent Michael Hastings dies in Los Angeles car crash


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The Independent US

The award-winning American war correspondent Michael Hastings, 33, died in a car crash in Los Angeles. Described as a "fearless journalist", the news of his death was announced by his employer Buzzfeed.

Hastings was also a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, and is perhaps best known for his cover profile of the then-supreme commander of the US army in Arfghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. The unflinching article ended the General's career after it revealed his open criticisms of President Barack Obama, and won the 2010 Polk award for magazine reporting.

As an author, Hastings wrote about this experience in the book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan. He also penned a memorial for his then-fiance, an aide worker who was killed in a Baghdad ambush in 2007, entitled I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

He leaves behind his wife, the writer Elise Jordan.

In a statement, Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith said: "We are shocked and devastated by the news that Michael Hastings is gone. Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians.

"He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold."

Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana said: "Great reporters exude a certain kind of electricity. The sense that there are stories burning inside them, and that there's no higher calling or greater way to live life than to be always relentlessly trying to find and tell those stories.

"I'm sad that I'll never get to publish all the great stories that he was going to write, and sad that he won't be stopping by my office for any more short visits which would stretch for two or three completely engrossing hours. He will be missed."

Rolling Stone have also published a eulogy sent to them by Hastings' friend Matt Farwell, who worked as a co-reporter on some of his most recent work. In it he writes: "As a journalist, Michael specialized in speaking truth to power and laying it all out there. He was irascible in his reporting and sometimes/often/always infuriating in his writing: he lit a bright lamp for those who wanted to follow his example.

"Michael was no stranger to trying to make sense this kind of tragedy nor was he unfamiliar the emptiness felt in the wake of a senseless, random death. After all, he'd already learned about it the only way he ever deemed acceptable for a non hack: first-hand. In the course of his reporting he figured this lesson out again and again in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the United States, and part of his passion stemmed from a desire to make everyone else wake the fuck up and realize the value of the life we're living.

"He did: He always sought out the hard stories, pushed for the truth, let it all hang out on the page. Looking back on the past ten years is tough for anyone, but looking back on Michael's past ten years and you begin to understand how passionate and dedicated to this work he was, a passion that was only equaled by his dedication to his family and friends, and how much more he lived in thirty-three years than most people live in a lifetime. That's part of what makes this all so tough: exiting, he leaves us all with little more than questions and a blank sheet of paper. Maybe that's a challenge to continue to use it to write the truth. I hope we can live up to that. He was a great friend and I will miss him terribly."