Abbie Hoffman, the satirical Chicago Seven radical who captured the hearts and minds of one generation and angered another by tossing dollar bills on a stock exchange floor and founding the Yippie party, has died. He was 52.
Hoffman, who wrote the books "Revolution for the Hell of It" and "Steal This Book," was found dead in his home Wednesday evening, said Solebury Township Police Chief Richard Mangan.He was fully dressed and under the covers of his bed.
Michael Waldron, a neighbor, found Hoffman and told police Hoffman had been depressed about an auto accident in which he suffered a broken leg last June.
But Mangan said no evidence suggested suicide. An autopsy is planned.
Hoffman's death shocked those who knew him.
"I'm stunned. He was brilliant," Timothy Leary said. The LSD guru then added he needed time to collect his thoughts before he could comment further.
"Abbie Hoffman was an American legend," Leary said later.
Gerald B. Lefcourt, Hoffman's long-time attorney, remembered him as a humorous man devoted to correcting what was wrong with society.
"He threw money on the (American) stock exchange floor in the late '60s and was able to show in that satirical event, when hundreds of people on the stock exchange on Wall Street chased flying money on the floor, how silly it all was," Lefcourt said from his New York City home.
"It's the end of an era," said Hoffman's 49-year-old brother, Jack, from his Framingham, Mass., home.
"He was 52 years old and I think he gave up. Maybe he was tired. I know he was disappointed in the young people of today. He didn't feel he was getting through to them. He was disenchanted."
Just last week, Hoffman, who criticized college campuses in recent years as "bastions of rest," told a Vanderbilt University audience that he was saddened by the interest today's young people have in the 1960s.
"Nostalgia is a sign of middle-age," he told them during an appearance with Leary. "We're reminiscing about our youth. When you see young people nostalgic for a youth they didn't even experience, it's a little sad. They're supposed to be out making one for themselves."
A native of Worcester, Mass., Hoffman rose to prominence with the Chicago Seven, a group of radicals who stood trial on charges of conspiring to disrupt the bloody 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
The others were Thomas Hayden, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Reynard C. Davis, Lee Weiner and John Froines.
During a reunion of the Chicago Seven last year, Hoffman characterized himself as "an American dissident."
"I don't think my goals have changed since I was 4 and I fought schoolyard bullies," said Hoffman.
Hoffman, whose given name was Abbott, was born Nov. 30, 1936.
He started the loosely organized Yippie movement, or Youth International Party, in 1968 to bring together radicals to protest the government and the Vietnam War.
Hoffman went underground in 1974 to avoid trial on cocaine possession charges. He emerged nearly seven years later and revealed he had lived in upstate New York and had undergone plastic surgery.