Although he gave up cigarettes in 2008 after claiming to have had an epiphany, he once said he could 'drink enough every day to kill or stun the average mule.'
From the UK Daily Mail
Cancer-stricken Christopher Hitchens says his 'time' is coming as he makes first public appearance in months to receive atheism award
By JOHN STEVENS
Christopher Hitchens said that his 'time' is coming as he made his first public appearance in months at the weekend.
The controversial writer and fervent atheist, who is suffering from oesophagus cancer, attended the Atheist Alliance of America conference in Texas where he was presented an award by Richard Dawkins.
The 62-year-old said that he had been determined to attend the conference because of the state's Bible Belt devotion.
Battle: Christopher Hitchens, who is suffering from oesophagus cancer, spoke at the Atheist Alliance of America conference in Texas
Receiving the Richard Dawkins Freethinker of the Year Award, Hitchens looked gaunt and his voice was soft.
At one point he struggled to speak and started to cough. 'I was worried this would happen,' he told the gathering of over a thousand atheist.
'I think being an atheist is something you are, not something you do,' he told the New York Times.
'I'm not sure we need to be honoured. We don't need positive reinforcement.
'On the other hand, we do need to stick up for ourselves, especially in a place like Texas, where they have laws, I think, that if you don't believe in Jesus Christ you can't run for sheriff.'
Dawkins praised him for showing his atheist determination even in the face of death and said he had disproved the saying that there are 'no atheists in foxholes'.
Illness: Hitchens, who has lost his hair, looked gaunt and struggled to speak at times
'I'm not going to quit until absolutely I have to,' Hitchens told the audience before receiving a standing ovation.
During his speech Hitchens said that he appreciated the fact that Texas governor Rick Perry had been open about his faith and his desire to inject fundamentalism into public life, reported the Houston Chronicle.
After being asked by an eight-year-old girl what books she should read, he recommended Dawkins' Magic of Reality, Greek and Roman myths, anything satirical by Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, PG Wodehouse, David Hume, and Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.
Hitchens discovered in June 2010 that he had Stage 4 oesophageal cancer.
The writer, who is also a columnist for Vanity Fair magazine, has admitted to prolific drinking and smoking heavily for much of his life.
Hitchens whose brother Peter is a columnist for the Mail on Sunday, has repeatedly hit the headlines in recent years.
He notably tried, along with fellow campaigning atheist Richard Dawkins, to have the Pope arrested when he visited Britain for what they allege was his complicity in covering up child sex abuse in the Catholic church.
Twice married, last year he announced he had gay relations with two ministers in Margaret Thatcher's government while he was at Oxford University but refused to name them.
He met his first wife while working as a journalist in Cyprus and they have two children Alexander and Sophia.
In 1989 he met the journalist Carol Blue and they later married and had a daughter Antonia.
Note: An Atheist Award! Congratulations, you don't believe in anything. How awful to face certain death with a false sense of bravado. There must be some very dark nights for Mr. Hitchens. He certainly has heard the gospel from his brother at least. Let us pray that the truth of God's love finally breaks through, even to the last breath, there is hope.