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Journalist Michael Hastings dies at the age of 33

BuzzFeed's Ben Smith made a heartbreaking announcement this afternoon: Michael Hastings died earlier today in a car accident in Los Angeles. He was just 33 years old.

"We are shocked and devastated by the news that Michael Hastings is gone. 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. Michael was also a wonderful, generous colleague and a joy to work with. Our thoughts are with Elise and the rest of his family and we are going to miss him."

I only knew Michael a little, but I knew his work very well. He was a brilliant, consequential journalist -- he's perhaps best known for his work at Rolling Stone, and his piece that ended Gen. Stanley McChrystal's tenure as the commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan -- and the author of an exceptional book, "The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan."

He was also a great guy who will be sorely missed.