Vanity Fair announced the death of contributing editor Christopher Hitchens, calling him a "dear friend and a man of ferocious intellect."
The magazine said Hitchens died from pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer.
Hitchens wrote 17 books, including his best-selling manifesto for atheists called, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
In 2008, CBN News reporter Lee Webb moderated a debate between Hitchens and Christian pastor and author Douglas Wilson.
"He thinks Jesus Christ was a real person, was the Son of God, was crucified, dead and buried, suffered under Pontius Pilate and rose again from the dead. So I know where I am with him," Hitchens said of Wilson.
The debate became part of a documentary that Wilson produced called "Collision: Is Christianity Good for the World?"
"My initial reaction was one of sadness," Wilson said after hearing of Hitchens' death. "Seeing someone go to meet their Maker for all that we could see, unprepared to do so."
Hitchens is survived by his wife and three children.
His younger brother Peter, who is one of Britain's most famous journalists and a former outspoken atheist, recently became a Christian.
Peter's newfound faith led to a very public literary debate with his brother. To counter Hitchens' "God is Not Great,' Peter wrote The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith.
The Hitchens brothers grew up in a family with a Christian heritage.
Peter suggested that Christopher spent so much time debating and attacking religion that he was actually a "repressed seeker."
Hitchens, however, denied the claim -- although he did appear to be unsettled in his position at the end of the "Collision" documentary, saying even if he could convince everyone to be a non-believer, "I wouldn't."