It was fifty years ago today that author/journalist Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in his home in Ketchum, Idaho with the aid of one of his shotguns. Depression, alcoholism and a number of head injuries broke him into a state of disrepair.
Hemingway was infamous for his zest for life (or, rather, danger and excess). He was an avid athlete in high school and maintained a lifelong passion for boxing. He was also an avid sportsman who enjoyed fishing (re: Big Two-Hearted River, The Old Man and The Sea), hunting and the outdoors.
He volunteered for the Red Cross near the Italian front in the first World War where he suffered injuries from shrapnel, witnessed the bombing of Smyrna during the Greco-Turkish war, worked as a war correspondent in Spain during that country’s civil war where he wrote The Fifth Column in Madrid during the Siege of Madrid and was at the D-Day Landing and liberation of Paris in World War II. A bout of pneumonia kept him away from the front lines at the Battle of the Bulge. A few of these experiences formed the basis of his most famous novels A Farewell to Arms and For Whom The Bell Tolls.