Los Angeles police and the coroner's office had yet to confirm Hastings was the victim of the 4:25 a.m. accident in which the vehicle crossed a median, hit a tree and burst into flames, charring the body beyond recognition, the Los Angeles Times reported.
BuzzFeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith confirmed Hastings' death and said his staff was "shocked and devastated by the news."
"Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered, from wars to politicians," Smith said. "He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold."
Hastings, who covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, won the 2010 Polk Award for magazine reporting for his Rolling Stone article on Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, which led to the military leader's resignation as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan over comments regarded as disrespectful of President Obama, Vice President Biden and other administration officials.
He also wrote for Newsweek and GQ, and wrote a book about his fiancee, who was killed in Iraq in 2007.