Terence McKenna

Died April 3, 2000

Thursday April 6 3:25 PM ET

Terence McKenna, psychedelic pioneer, dies aged 53

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Terence McKenna, a psychedelic pioneer, radical raconteur and passionate promoter of the mind-expanding powers of drugs, has died of brain cancer at the age of 53, associates said.

McKenna, who followed the late Timothy Leary as one of the key figures in the California counterculture movement, died Monday at the home of a friend in San Rafael, California.

A student of shamanism, virtual reality and the botany of the Amazon, McKenna was a proponent of the use of psilocybin ''magic'' mushrooms and believed human civilization developed after early hunter-gatherers accidentally ingested psychedelic drugs.

He doggedly promoted that belief, as well as the idea that warfare developed only after the original hallucinogenic plants began to disappear because of climatic change.

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