P.J. O’Rourke, one of the most hilarious people who has ever lived, has died at the age of 74. Mr. O’Rourke will forever be remembered for revolutionizing “gonzo” journalism in the 1960s and 1970s as the editor-in-chief and author of National Lampoon magazine. According to his publisher, Grove Atlantic Inc., he had been battling lung cancer lately and it is considered to be the reason behind his death.

The vice president and spokeswoman for the book firm, Deidre B. Sanders, released a statement on behalf of the company:

“Our dear friend and cherished Grove Atlantic author P. J. O’Rourke passed away this morning from complications of lung cancer. A journalist and political satirist, O’Rourke wrote over twenty books on subjects as diverse as politics, cars, etiquette, and economics, including his two #1 New York Times Bestsellers, Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance.”

O’Rourke was the editor in chief of National Lampoon magazine and helped launch the careers of John Belushi, Christopher Guest, and Chevy Chase.

He was an author and co-editor of the National Lampoon 1964 High School Yearbook Parody, which served as the basis for Animal House in 1978.

In 2008, O’Rourke was first diagnosed with cancer, and he wrote about it in an essay titled “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”:

“I looked death in the face. All right, I didn’t. I glimpsed him in a crowd. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, of a very treatable kind. I’m told I have a 95% chance of survival. Come to think of it – as a drinking, smoking, saturated-fat hound – my chance of survival has been improved by cancer.”

O’Rourke is survived by his wife and two children.

He wrote for National Lampoon, Playboy, and Rolling Stone. O’Rourke was a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard from 1995 until its closure in 2018. He was also a regular panelist on CNN’s Capital Gang.

O’Rourke’s books include: Holidays in Hell (1988), Give War a Chance (1992), parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government (1991) and All the Trouble in the World (1994). His book Peace Kills: America’s Fun New Imperialism (2004) was critical of the Iraq War. In 2007 he wrote On the Wealth of Nations, a modern update of Adam Smith’s classic work. In 2010, he wrote Don’t Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards.

O’Rourke was born in Toledo, Ohio, and raised in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. O’Rourke is a self-described libertarian.

P.J. O’Rourke will be remembered as one of the most original and provocative voices in American humor. His books were a constant source of laughter and insight into the absurdity of our politics and culture. His wit and sharp commentary will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.