The writer and literary critic lost his battle with pneumonia, a complication of his oesophageal cancer, at a Texas hospital at the age of 62.
Following the news, a host of stars took to their Twitter.com pages to pay tribute to the author, with Glee star Cory Monteith simply stating, "RIP Christopher Hitchens. 1949 - 2011."
Olivia Wilde wrote, "Rest in painless peace, Christopher Hitchens, who raged against the dying of the light", while actress Elizabeth Banks added, "RIP Christopher Hitchens. A great wit, a great writer, old school, always provoked further conversation."
Singer Josh Groban described Hitchens as "a wonderfully bold and witty thinker" and added, "You don't have to believe what Hitchens believed to appreciate his mind and writing. I disagreed on many things, and found him fascinating."
Comic actor Ricky Gervais wrote, "The most honest and outspoken, bulls**t-free thinker of our time. A brave man and a hero of mine", and British journalist-turned-chat show host Piers Morgan declared on his page, "RIP Christopher Hitchens - greatest literary provocateur of my lifetime. Huge talent, huge loss."
Hitchens' friend Stephen Fry was sombre upon hearing the news, tweeting, "Goodbye, Christopher Hitchens. You were envied, feared, adored, reviled and loved. Never ignored. Never bested. A great and marvellous man."