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Hunter Thompson kills self at age of 67

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ASPEN, Colo. — The same day that a story appeared in The Aspen Times mentioning a plan in Sun Valley and Ketchum to conduct a festival devoted to the novelist Ernest Hemingway, writer Hunter S. Thompson killed himself near Aspen. As Hemingway had done in Ketchum in 1961, shooting himself, Thompson committed suicide by putting a .45-caliber handgun into his mouth. He was 67.

Friends said they were surprised on several counts. First, he killed himself with both his son and grandson in the same house. And second, he had seemed unusually upbeat recently.

With dozens of reporters buzzing around, Gaylord Guenin, a friend who lives nearby, told The Aspen Times that he still can't come up with an explanation. "I could see him driving into a river or overdosing on some bizarre drug, but not this way. To lose a friend is tough. But we didn't lose him. He ran away from us," Guenin said. "The weird thing was in the last few weeks he had been really upbeat."

Jimmy Ibbotson, a long-time neighbour and friend, said the author had been quite ill and had undergone three or four operations in the past few years. "He lived his life by his own rules, and he took his life by his own rules. Why he did it with his son and grandson in the (home)... that's the part that no one can get."

Dalai Lama to talk about 9/11

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — The Dalai Lama is scheduled to give a two-hour lecture in Sun Valley on the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. His appearance is expressly to send a message of peace to those who lost loved ones in the attacks, reports the Idaho Mountain Express.

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne formally extended the invitation to the Dalai Lama, but instrumental in the invitation seems to have been Kiril Sokoloff, a financial researcher from Ketchum, who is a personal friend. He is president of 13D Research.

Meningitis death causes review

ASPEN, Colo. — Following the death of a 22-year-old seasonal employee in Snowmass from meningitis, health officials in Pitkin County were saying they might urge meningitis-preventing vaccinations among resort employees who live in dormitory-like housing.

The Snowmass victim was from a small town in Washington and had not travelled extensively before moving to Aspen. He had two roommates. He died within 24 hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that all college freshmen who live in dorms should be vaccinated for bacterial meningococcal illness. Two Colorado-based doctors who served on the CDC panel told The Aspen Times that seasonal employee housing in Aspen and other resort towns resemble dormitory conditions and likely see increased risk of the disease.

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