DEAD: Ernest Hemingway

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Ernest Hemingway (aged 61)
American author and journalist

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three of his novels, four short-story collections, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

DEATH: Hemingway was back in Ketchum in April 1961, three months after being released from the Mayo Clinic, when Mary “found Hemingway holding a shotgun” in the kitchen one morning. She called Saviers, who sedated him and admitted him to the Sun Valley Hospital; from there he was returned to the Mayo for more electroshock treatments. He was released in late June and arrived home in Ketchum on June 30, and he “quite deliberately” shot himself with his favorite shotgun in the early morning hours of July 2, 1961. He had unlocked the basement storeroom where his guns were kept, gone upstairs to the front entrance foyer, and shot himself with the “double-barreled shotgun that he had used so often it might have been a friend”.

Mary called the Sun Valley Hospital, and a doctor quickly arrived at the house who determined that Hemingway “had died of a self-inflicted wound to the head”. Mary was sedated and taken to the hospital, returning home the next day where she cleaned the house and saw to the funeral and travel arrangements. Bernice Kert writes that it “did not seem to her a conscious lie” when she told the press that his death had been accidental. In a press interview five years later, Mary confirmed that he had shot himself.

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