Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's ashes blasted into sky from 153-foot high cannon

Johnny Depp’s quest to fulfill his late friend’s wishes came to a successful conclusion tonight as the ashes of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson blasted skyward in fireworks shot from a 153-foot-tall replica of HST’s famous emblem, the Gonzo fist. (For a larger view of the fireworks picture, click HERE.) The tower, a temporary structure, was built on the grounds of Owl Farm, Thompson’s home at Woody Creek, Colorado, near Aspen. An invitation-only crowd of several hundred family members and close friends gathered at Owl Farm for Hunter’s spectacular sendoff, six months after the celebrated writer died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The tower construction, fireworks launching, and farewell gathering are estimated to cost between $2 and $2.5 million; Hunter’s widow Anita confirms that Johnny Depp is paying for the event as a gesture of love for Hunter, whom Johnny played in the 1998 film of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. She told the Aspen Daily News,”My husband is the only writer in American history that I know of that could inspire this sort of monumental tribute and Johnny is the only one who could pull it off. I think it’s his way of mourning, and he’s helping a lot of people heal by doing this for Hunter. […] He’s a Southern gentleman. That’s why Hunter loved him so much.”

In an AP interview in July, Johnny explained his quest to fulfill Hunter’s often-expressed request to have his ashes launched, rather than simply scattered, over his Woody Creek farm. “We had talked a couple of times about his last wishes to be shot out of a cannon of his own design,” Johnny explained. “All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.”