Thompson’s talk of suicide had put strain on his marriage
ASPEN ” Hunter S. Thompson’s wife called the legendary journalist from a health club and he asked her to come home so they could work on his weekly ESPN column ” but instead of saying goodbye, he set the telephone down and shot himself, his widow says.
“I was on the phone with him, he set the receiver down and he did it. I heard the clicking of the gun,” Anita Thompson told the Aspen Daily News on Thursday.
She said she heard a loud, muffled noise, but didn’t know what had happened.
“I was waiting for him to get back on the phone,” said Thompson, who did not return messages left this week by The Associated Press.
Hunter Thompson, the 67-year-old author of the “Fear and Loathing” books, shot himself in the head Sunday in his Aspen-area home. His son, daughter-in-law and 6-year-old grandson were in the house when the shooting occurred.
Anita Thompson, 32, said her husband had repeatedly discussed killing himself in recent months and had been issuing verbal and written directives about what he wanted done with his body, his unpublished works and his assets.
His suicidal talk put an intense strain on their relationship, she said.
“He wanted to leave on top of his game. I wish I could have been more supportive of his decision,” Thompson said. “It was a problem for us.”
But the couple, who married in April 2003, always reconciled.
Anita Thompson and her husband had a tiff Sunday afternoon. Hunter Thompson told her to leave the kitchen and go to his office with his son. She went to get her gym bag instead.
“I don’t know why he wanted me to leave the room,” she told the Rocky Mountain News. “He said, ‘I don’t want you to leave the house.”‘
At the gym, she called and the two spoke for 10 minutes. It was a good talk.
“He said, ‘I want you to come home after you work out. Come home and we’ll work on a column,”‘ she recalled. She heard a clicking sound and thought her husband might have put down the handset and was typing.
“He did not say anything about killing himself,” she said. “I did not hear any bang.”
Anita Thompson told the Denver paper she can imagine what was going through Hunter Thompson’s mind before the fatal shot: ‘My beloved son, grandson and daughter-in-law are here. I’m in my perch.
The fireplace has fire.’
“I know he did not want me to find him alone,” she said. “He knew I was opposed to it.”
After she returned home, she saw her husband’s body for the first time. “He was sitting in the chair when they brought me in, and I got to hug him and kiss him and rub his legs,” she told the News. “All the anger was gone when I saw him.”
Anita Thompson does not know why Hunter Thompson chose a .45-caliber handgun, but “he did not destroy his face.”
“He did it in his mouth,” she said. “His face was beautiful. It was quick. It was not grisly or gruesome by any means. That’s probably why he took that gun. He spared us a gruesome scene.”
She added: “His face did look calm and peaceful. He looked content. Like he wanted it.”
Anita Thompson said she believes she will stay at the famous house in Woody Creek, near Aspen, and will continue to help administer Hunter Thompson’s works. She was his assistant before the two married.
“It will remain Owl Farm,” she said. “It will remain Hunter Thompson’s Owl Farm.”
Anita Thompson told the Aspen paper she was beginning to overcome the horror of the suicide.
“At first I was very angry. He was my best friend, my lover, my partner, and my teacher,” she said. “But I know he is much more powerful and alive now than ever before. He is in all of our hearts. His death was a triumph of his own human spirit because this is what he wanted. He lived and died like a champion.”
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