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Private Service for Hunter S. Thompson

Plans for a public ceremony celebrating the life of Hunter S. Thompson (search) have been canceled in favor of a private memorial service.

The Aug. 20 ceremony, which will include the scattering of the author's ashes on his Aspen-area ranch, will coincide with the six-month anniversary of Thompson's death, said Doug Brinkley, one of the planners of the memorial.

Thompson shot himself in the head on Feb. 20 after a long and flamboyant career that produced new journalism classics such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (search)," and cast his image as a hard-charging, drug-crazed daredevil.

"It got too tricky to morph symposium and ashes, so instead there is just the private service," Brinkley said Tuesday.

He said a public symposium will be organized within the next 18 months that will include experts and a scholarly look at Thompson's works, life and legacy.

George Stranahan, another member of the memorial committee, said details of how Thompson's ashes will be scattered were being worked out.

Among the suggestions: firing the ashes out of a cannon from a 100-foot pillar topped by a 53-foot statue of the journalist's "gonzo fist (search)" emblem.

Flying Dog Brewery, which is creating a new beer in Thompson's honor, said sales of Gonzo Imperial Porter will help fund construction of the "gonzo fist" tower.

At 9.5 percent, the Gonzo beer has nearly double the alcohol content of average brews.

"We tried to make everything about this beer Gonzo," brewery President Eric Warner said in a statement.