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It’s always jolting to hear of a young man cut down in his prime—whether it’s a combat journalist or the men he covered.

Michael Hastings was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles. A controversial figure in the media’s coverage of GWOT. Hastings’ 2010 profile of General Stanley McChrystal in the pages of Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General,” documented the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan openly mocking his civilian commanders in the White House. The fallout from his article concluded with President Obama recalling McChrystal to Washington and the general resigning his post.

“Runaway General” was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, won the 2010 Polk award for magazine reporting, and was the basis for Hastings’ book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.

For Hastings, there was no romance to America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand: While covering the Iraq war for Newsweek in early 2007, his then-fianceé, an aide worker, was killed in a Baghdad car bombing. Hastings memorialized that relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

Michael Hastings, dead at 33.

Read more at RollingStone.com.

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