Hunter S Thompson had planned his suicide for some time, according to his lawyer and close friend.

GEORGE TOBIA JR insists he wasn't surprised to hear of the maverick journalist's death on Sunday (20FEB05), although Thompson never mentioned his plans during their regular telephone conversations.

Tobia spoke to the Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas author at least five times a week, and for the last time on Saturday, just a day before his shot himself in the mouth with his .45 caliber handgun at his secure ranch in Woody Creek, Colorado.

He says, "This was definitely not spur of the moment. He arranged to have things dealt with, and he wanted his family close by, but he didn't want anyone to know - he didn't want anyone to try to stop him. In a weird way, he wanted it to be, I think, a celebration."

Tobia says 67-year-old Thompson had discussed taking his own life with him the past, and suggests severe pain caused by recent back surgery and an artificial hip may have prompted his suicide.

23/02/2005 04:07