Michael Hastings, Reporter Who Took Down Stanley McChrystal, Dies at 33

The BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone journalist is remembered for his bold reporting.

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Michael Hastings, a reporter for BuzzFeed and a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, died in car accident in Los Angeles early Tuesday morning, BuzzFeed announced in a statement Tuesday evening. He was 33.

Hastings is best known for his award-winning 2010 Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his officials, capturing them mocking President Obama and his administration. McChrystal submitted his resignation to the president soon after the piece was published.

[FLASHBACK: McChrystal Out in Afghanistan]

Hastings worked as war correspondent for Newsweek from 2002 to 2008, embedding in Afghanistan and Iraq. While in Iraq, his fiancee, an aid worker, was killed in an attack in Baghdad, leading Hastings to write his first book, "I Lost My Love in Baghdad."

He later wrote for Rolling Stone, GQ and BuzzFeed, among others. In addition to covering war zones, he wrote about national security issues, politics and, most recently, Hollywood. He is also the author of "The Operators," based on his reporting in Afghanistan, and "Panic 2012," about the most recent presidential election.

 

Hastings had the reputation for a bold if not brash style. "Hastings' hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power," Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson wrote in his tribute to Hastings.

When an aid to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Hastings, "Why do you bother to ask questions you've already decided you know the answers to?" he famously snapped back, "Why don't you give answers that aren't bullsh-t for a change?" and published the email exchange.

His fearlessness won him the admiration of his colleagues, many of whom have praised Hastings in the wake of his death.

[PHOTOS: Fighting Continues in Afghanistan]

Hasting is also remembered for his kindness, particularly in doling out advice to young reporters (some of which can be read in his Reddit Ask Me Anything).

"He handed out scoops to the kids around him – sometimes based on complicated calculations about his own byline, sometimes out of pure generosity," BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith wrote. "A half-dozen young reporters walked away with a bit of his fairy dust."

He is thought to be the only victim in a single car crash that occurred at 4:25 a.m. Tuesday, though the details of which are still uncertain. The Los Angeles Times reports that coroners have yet to be able to determine whether the body that had been pulled out of the car – which burst into flames after crossing a median and hitting a tree – is that of Hastings. He leaves behind his wife, Elise.

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