With a hat hiding his face Nolte recited from memory the suicide note that his friend Thompson left, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday: "No more walking, no more swimming, no more fun. Sixty-seven. That's 17 years past 50, 17 more than I wanted or needed.
"I'm always grumpy, all the time. No fun for anybody. Relax. This won't hurt much."
Nolte then told the Times: "Boom. Shot himself. It was a powerful note. It read like a poem."
Nolte, 65, said he mostly spoke to Thompson during late-night and early morning telephone calls. "I had the luxury of being the only one that ever passed out on him while on the phone," he added.
"He just seemed to have this constitution for being able to do something and do it extremely well and in such depth," Nolte told the newspaper, "he was beyond me. It's that capacity that I admired. He had no fear of it. He just went into it. And that's what inspired me a lot about him."