Author, journalist, polemicist and fervent atheist, Christopher Hitchens, passed away Thursday at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2010 and died from pneumonia following complications.

A prolific writer, Hitchens wrote extensive columns on politics and literature as well as numerous books attacking religious beliefs, Henry Kissinger, Mother Teresa, and others. His most famous publications, include Hitch-22, The Portable Atheist, God Is Not Great, Letter to a Young Contrarian, Why Orwell Matters and The Trial of Henry Kissinger.

While Hitchens has hundreds of quotables from books, magazines and online essays, we choose fifteen of his most witty and memorable quotes.

My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line and kiss my ass. - Free Speech Debate at University of Toronto, 2006

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. - Slate, 2003

Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience. - God Is Not Great   

The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.-The Portable Atheist

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species.- God Is Not Great

I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information. - Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.- God Is Not Great

Every day, the New York Times carries a motto in a box on its front page. All the News That's Fit to Print, it says. It's been saying it for decades, day in and day out. I imagine most readers of the canonical sheet have long ceased to notice this bannered and flaunted symbol of its mental furniture. I myself check every day to make sure that the bright, smug, pompous, idiotic claim is still there. Then I check to make sure that it still irritates me. If I can still exclaim, under my breath, why do they insult me and what do they take me for and what the hell is it supposed to mean unless it's as obviously complacent and conceited and censorious as it seems to be, then at least I know I still have a pulse. You may wish to choose a more rigorous mental workout but I credit this daily infusion of annoyance with extending my lifespan. - Letters to a Young Contrarian

I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Hitch-22

My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it, but you can't disprove it either. - God Is Not Great

[Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. - Slate, 2003

Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint. - Slate, 2002

 [O]wners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realise that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods. - The Portable Atheist

The four most overrated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics. - The New Yorker, 2006