Pete Hamill RIP: “The world just became a far less interesting place.”

Pete Hamill RIP.

Update: Also see the Pete Hamill obit by Robert D. McFadden in the New York Times. Plus the Pete Hamill obit by Larry McShane in the New York Daily News. And the Pete Hamill obit by Harrison Smith in the Washington Post.

From a New York Post obit by Lia Eustachewich headlined “Pete Hamill, legendary Post columnist and author, dead at 85”:

Pete Hamill, the consummate New York newspaperman and novelist whose 15-year career at the New York Post included stints as a columnist and editor, died Wednesday, his family said. Hamill fell at his Brooklyn home Saturday after returning from dialysis, his brother, writer Denis Hamill, told the New York Times. He was in intensive care at Methodist Hospital when “his kidneys and heart failed him,” the brother said.

In 1960, the high school dropout  began working as a reporter for the Post where he “began to learn his craft,” according to his online biography. He penned columns for the Post for 12 years and worked as a columnist for Newsday, Village Voice and the New York Daily News. He also wrote for Esquire, Rolling Stone and New York Magazine.

Part of Hamill’s Post legacy includes his notorious refusal to step down as editor — moving his desk to a diner near the newsroom in protest of then-owner Abraham Hirschfeld amid mass layoffs in the early 1990s.

A George Polk Career Award winner and Irish America Hall of Fame inductee, Hamill also wrote dozens of novels, including his 1994 memoir “A Drinking Life” and bestseller “Forever.”

Hamill and fellow tabloid trailblazer Jimmy Breslin ran the city as dueling reporters — and forever friends. The pair were hailed as “two of the most celebrated newspapermen of the 20th century” in the 2018 HBO documentary “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists.”

Breslin, also a George Polk Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, died in 2017 at age 88.

In 1977, he outed Hamill for dating one of the most famous women in the world, Jackie Onassis.

Tributes to Hamill began pouring in online from colleagues including former New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman, who tweeted: “Devastating news: Word has come that Pete Hamill died this morning. The world just became a far less interesting place.”

Other fellow scribes posted some of Hamill’s best advice.

“RIP Pete Hamill, a walking inspiration to so many of us,” Times writer-at-large Jim Rutenberg wrote. “He was the journalist we all wanted to be, with the life we all wanted to live. The best advice he ever gave me: ‘ALWAYS check the clips.’ So basic yet somehow so often forgotten. His legacy and work live on.”

Mike Malone, a deputy editor and reporter at Broadcasting & Cable magazine, recalled, “Pete Hamill wrote to me in ’94, ‘Your ‘bar-hopping’ piece was passed to me (like a secret document at the height of the Cold War) and it’s damned good stuff. Most of all, the tone…the hardest thing to get right.’ He concluded, ‘Write, unite…and enjoy your life too.’”

Hamill’s wife, former journalist Fukiko Aoki, could not immediately be reached.

In his online biography, Hamill describes himself as “a generalist, not a specialist,” writing about everything from international wars to local and national politics to rock ‘n’ roll legends like Bob Dylan and John Lennon during a storied career that took him around the world.

But, as his biography noted, “he has always returned to New York.”

One of Hamill’s last interviews was to the Times in November, in which he discussed his lengthy career as one of New York’s most iconic reporters.

“‘Pete Hamill is 84,’” he riffed about writing his own profile. “‘He’s got stents in his heart’— I do, I have four. ‘He’s got two broken hips. He has to go to dialysis three times a week. He’s even got a pacemaker.’”

“‘But,’” he added, “‘he ain’t done yet.’”

In 2016, he and Aoki packed up their Manhattan loft in TriBeCa and headed back to his native Brooklyn to rent in Prospect Heights.

He told the Times he bought a plot in nearby Green-Wood Cemetery.

“I’ve done the best I could to be the best Pete Hamill I ever could,” he said.

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