BuzzFeed reporter Hastings dead at 33

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Story highlights

  • Hastings was a reporter for BuzzFeed
  • He is remembered for his Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal
  • The profile revealed rifts between Obama and his commanders
  • McChrystal abruptly retired after the article was published

Journalist Michael Hastings, known for his 2010 profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to the officer's abrupt retirement, died in a car accident in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old had been a reporter for BuzzFeed since last year, when he was hired to cover the Obama re-election campaign.

"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," BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith said in a statement. "He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold."

Hastings was also a contributor to Rolling Stone, and it was his profile in that magazine about McChrystal that led to the the general leaving his position.

In his profile, Hastings quoted McChrystal and his staff criticizing and mocking key administration officials.

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The young reporter wrote that McChrystal and Obama "failed from the outset to connect," and that the president looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by top military officials.

Hastings wrote that an unnamed aide to McChrystal mocked Vice President Joe Biden.

    The fallout of the article was significant, with the general resigning from his post as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, followed by his retirement from the armed forces.

    "Hastings' hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power," his obituary in Rolling Stone read. "While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal's bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war."

    Read excerpts from Hasting's profile of McChrystal