BuzzFeed Reporter Michael Hastings Dies in Car Accident at Age 33

4:48 PM PST 06/18/2013 by Kimberly Nordyke
Michael Hastings

UPDATED: He also had been a writer for Rolling Stone, where his profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal ultimately led to his resignation.

Journalist Michael Hastings died early Tuesday in a car accident in Los Angeles. He was 33.

Hastings covered politics for BuzzFeed, whose editor-in-chief Ben Smith announced the news of his death in a statement on the website.

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"We are shocked and devastated by the news that Michael Hastings is gone," Smith wrote. "Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians. He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him, there are great stories that will go untold."

When reached by The Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Police Department could not immediately confirm whether Hastings was involved in a single-car crash that took place on North Highland Avenue around 4:25 a.m. The Los Angeles Times reported that it was the only vehicle fatality reported Tuesday morning in L.A.

In addition to BuzzFeed, Hastings also has written for Rolling Stone and Newsweek. His 2010 Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal, “The Runaway General," ultimately led to the resignation of the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan, who was quoted mocking his civilian superiors in the White House.

The story was a finalist for a National Magazine Award and won the 2010 Polk Award for magazine reporting. It also was the basis for his book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan. 

"Great reporters exude a certain kind of electricity," Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana said in a post on the magazine's site. "The sense that there are stories burning inside them, and that there's no higher calling or greater way to live life than to be always relentlessly trying to find and tell those stories. I'm sad that I'll never get to publish all the great stories that he was going to write."

Hastings had previously suffered a personal tragedy. While at Newsweek, where he covered the Iraq war, his then-fiancee, who was an aide worker, was killed in a car bombing in Baghdad in 2007. He wrote about their relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

In his statement, BuzzFeed's Smith went on to praise Hastings' character.

"Michael was also a wonderful, generous colleague, a joy to work with and a lover of corgis — especially his Bobby Sneakers," he said. "Our thoughts are with Elise and the rest of his family, and we are going to miss him."

Hastings' survivors include his wife, Elise, a writer whom he married in 2011.

Aaron Couch contributed to this report.

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