Coroner Verifies Death of Scientology Founder
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Authorities Wednesday confirmed the death of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, which the organization had announced Monday.
″Yes, we have verified fingerprints taken from the body″ of Hubbard, who had not been seen in public for six years, said San Luis Obispo County Sheriff-Coroner George Whiting.
Hubbard’s death occurred in the presence of a physician and ″the case is closed,″ said Whiting. Blood samples provided by Hubbard’s doctor were clear of drugs, and there were no signs of bruising or scarring on the body, said Whiting.
Hubbard, 74, died Friday on a ranch outside San Luis Obispo, Scientology officials said Monday. His personal physician, Dr. Eugene Denk, said Hubbard had suffered a brain hemorrhage several days before his death. Hubbard’s body was cremated Saturday and his remains scattered at sea Sunday, Scientology officials said.
The organization, founded in 1954, has been called a brainwashing cult by some former members and critics and has waged a continual legal battle with federal authorities over taxes and tax exemptions.
In 1950, Hubbard wrote ″Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health,″ which sold millions of copies. The book laid out Hubbard’s concept of mental health through which members can achieve a ″clear state.″
The techniques involve a lie detector-like device called an ″E-Meter″ coupled with exercises and counseling to enable members to eliminate negative mental images.
The church’s assets are estimated to be more than $280 million.
Church officials say there are 6 million members, but detractors have said it has only 2 million members.
At its peak, the church was earning about $100 million a year.
Hubbard left tens of millions of dollars to Scientology after making provisions for his wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, and four of his five children, said Earle Cooley, assistant chief counself for the organization. The will was expected to be filed by the end of the week.
The fifth child, Ronald DeWolf, was disinherited after denouncing his father and the church, said Scientology general counsel John Peterson.