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Timing of Thompson’s suicide surprises son

Juan Thompson says father just decided it was time to go
/ Source: The Associated Press

Journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s son says he wasn’t surprised that his father committed suicide, but he was surprised it happened when it did.

“The way he chose to do it was not a surprise, but the timing was a total, total surprise,” Juan Thompson said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Hunter Thompson, 67, shot himself in the head Sunday just after 5:30 p.m. in the kitchen of his Aspen-area home. Juan Thompson said the “gonzo journalist” was not acting out of pain or desperation but probably decided it was time for him to go.

“One thing he said many times was that ‘I’m a road man for the lords of karma.’ It’s cryptic, but there’s an implication there that he may have decided that his work was done and that he didn’t want to overstay his welcome; it was time to go,” the 40-year-old son said by telephone from his father’s home.

“He was not unhappy, he was not depressed, none of the things you would associate with someone who took his own life,” he said.

Juan Thompson said his father had been in pain from a hip replacement, a broken leg and back surgery, but “I really don’t believe it was motivated by pain.”

The younger Thompson, his wife, Jennifer, and their 6-year-old son, William, were visiting from Denver and in the house when the writer pulled the trigger. Thompson’s wife of two years, Anita, was at a health club.

Thompson was cremated Tuesday in Glenwood Springs. A private memorial service will be held March 5 in Aspen, with a public commemoration planned for spring or summer.

Thompson’s family is looking into firing his ashes from a cannon, as he had wanted.

“It’s a realistic possibility,” the son said.