It is the custom of journalists to, where practical, prepare obituaries in advance. It's a sensible thing to do in terms of workload. Someone old or infirm passes, and all you have to do is pull the file and tack on the end. Still, I've always found the idea a bit soulless. Indeed, on first learning about the practice from a journalist friend many years ago, I thought it ghoulish. So perhaps foolishly, I did not prepare anything for Christopher Hitchens, even though it was quite clear that his chances of surviving oesophegeal cancer were extremely slim.