LOS ANGELES -- L. Ron Hubbard's ashes have been scattered over the Pacific Ocean, but the spirit of the reclusive founder of the Church of Scientology 'lives on' and will influence mankind for thousands of years, church officials say.
'I feel what he has accomplished in the brief span of one lifetime will have impact on every man, woman and child for the next 10,000 years,' the Rev. Ken Hoden, church president, said Tuesday. Hubbard died last week on his Central California ranch at age 74.
'In Scientology, we believe that man is a spirit and when a body dies, the spirit lives on,' Hoden said.
Hubbard's ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean Saturday, Hoden said.
The church legal counsel said Hubbard, believed to have amassed a fortune from his writings, provided 'generously' for his wife and children but 'left his entire estate, which is very, very substantial,' to the church he founded in 1952.
Church officials said Hubbard, a science fiction writer who claimed to have written more than 125 books, died of a cerebral vascular accident -- a brain hemorrhage -- in his sleep Friday night at his home near the San Luis Obispo County community of Creston, about 175 miles north of Los Angeles.
There have been various reports for years that Hubbard was dead, and he had not been seen in public for several years despite efforts to force him to appear in court in a series of lawsuits. Disgruntled former church members had filed lawsuits claiming he led a cult that brainwashed its followers.
Hubbard, a native of Tilden, Neb., was a science fiction writer of moderate success until his book 'Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health' appeared in 1950. It was a best seller, and Dianetics - a kind of amateur psychotherapy -- became a national fad. Medical authorities dismissed Dianetics as hokum.
In his book, Hubbard claimed that man's path to freedom was blocked by negative experiences and that the process of auditing, by which Scientologists retrace their lives, allowed followers to free themselves of those negative experiences.
After interest in Dianetics faded, Hubbard in 1952 founded what he called the Church of Scientology, described as an 'applied religious philosophy.'
Born Lafayette Ronald Hubbard on March 13, 1911, he was the son of Ross and Dora May Hubbard.