The writer and literary critic lost his battle with pneumonia, a complication of his oesophageal cancer, on Thursday (15Dec11) at a Texas hospital.
Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has paid tribute to Hitchens, describing him as a man "of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar".
Carter adds, "Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls."
Hitchens graduated from the U.K.'s prestigious University of Oxford in 1970 and went on to write for a variety of publications, including the London Evening Standard, Britain's Daily Express and Newsday, and became a contributing editor to Vanity Fair in November 1992.
He penned 17 books, including The Trial of Henry Kissinger, How Religion Poisons Everything, God is not Great, and a memoir, Hitch-22.
Just last month (Nov11), Hitchens pulled out of a show with funnyman Stephen Fry at London's Royal Festival Hall after falling ill with pneumonia.