Christopher Hitchens, the controversial author and high-profile atheism activist who was scheduled to speak at Stony Brook University tomorrow evening, has canceled his appearance citing health risks. He was diagnosed in July with terminal esophageal cancer.

The short notice suggests that Hitchens’ health may be wavering. His health has been quickly deteriorating since he was diagnosed nine months ago.

David Mazza, the Undergraduate Student Government VP of Communications, said that the university was made aware of the cancellation at around 5:00pm today.

“All we know is that it’s health related issues,” he said.

Steve Wasserman, Hitchens’ literary agent, said that the decision was not made lightly.

“Suffice it to say that Christopher cancels most reluctantly, but he simply is unable to fulfill this engagement at this time,” he said. “His doctors forbid it.”

While students who had hoped to see Hitchens speak tomorrow will no doubt be disheartened over the news, the cancellation is an even bigger disappointment for people who were traveling from far greater distances.

One gentleman coming from South Africa to hear Hitchens speak is already here, according to Moiz Khan, the director of the Student Programming Agency.

Students were able to pick up free tickets at the Student Activities Center box office, but non-students paid $30 for tickets.

“Anyone who bought a ticket can request a refund by email,” said Khan. Non-students were sent an email informing them of the cancellation.

It’s unclear whether this particular health issue that forced the cancellation will subside enough to reschedule  “We definitely will attempt to reschedule,” said Mazza.

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