Gonzo in Space: Hunter S. Thompson to Go Out With a Bang on Saturday

By: E&P Staff

The ashes of Hunter S. Thompson, the late gonzo journalist, will be launched into space on Saturday in Woody Creek, Colo., as he requested.

Rather than a simple shot-from-a-cannon approach, it will take the form of his ashes being dispersed in a fireworks display in his back yard, near Aspen. Actor Johnny Depp, who played him in a movie, has been deeply involved in the planning, and is reportedly financing much of it.

Thompson, 67, shot himself to death in February.

Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, based in New Castle, Pa., will do the honors.

“We have never had a request such as this one in our company’s history,” Marcy Zambelli, chief executive officer of Zambelli Fireworks, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gaztte this week. “But we respect the request of the family and have actually custom engineered an aerial shell specifically designed to carry out his final wish.”

Zambelli said Thompson’s widow Anita Thompson delivered some of her husband’s ashes to their office last week. The ashes, now in firework shells, are headed back to Colorado today, by land.

After a red, white and blue intro, and drum rolls, Thompson’s ashes will be shot out of a 150-foot-tall monument, his precise wish, and dispersed from 34 different shells.

Saturday’s memorial (liquor will be served) will include readings from Thompson’s work and performances by Lyle Lovett and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. About 250 people are invited, including actors Depp and Sean Penn.

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