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Tony Scott death: Private memorial planned as probe continues

August 23, 2012 |  6:07 am

A private memorial service is planned this weekend for director Tony Scott as the coroner's office continues to probe his death

A private memorial service is planned this weekend for director Tony Scott as the coroner's office continues to probe his death.

"Tony Scott will be honored at a private, family-only ceremony this weekend in Los Angeles. The family will announce plans after Labor Day for a gathering to celebrate the life and work of Mr. Scott. Details will be forthcoming once they are formalized," the family said in a statement.

Law enforcement sources said Scott's family has spoken to investigators but have also asked that their privacy be respected.

PHOTOS: Director Tony Scott dead at 68

Detectives said all the evidence in the case points to a suicide after Scott jumped to his death Sunday from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. But the sources stressed that the case remains open and that additional investigation could occur if new information becomes available. The Los Angeles County coroner's office is still investigating.

An autopsy was performed on Scott on Monday. But as in many cases, the coroner said a final cause of death would not be determined until toxicology and other test results become available in several weeks.

Officials said they have not determined whether Scott had any health problems before taking his own life but that family members have denied media reports that the 68-year-old filmmaker was suffering from cancer.

FULL COVERAGE: Director Tony Scott | 1944-2012

"The family told us it is incorrect that he has inoperable brain cancer," said Craig Harvey, a chief with the coroner's office.

Several people who were driving on the bridge when Scott jumped described witnessing what happened.

"He was on the roadway close to the fence looking around. He was looking around and fumbling with something at his feet. He looked nervous,” David Silva told The Times.

Silva said he was a passenger in a car on the north side of the bridge and that Scott was on the south side. Silva said Scott "paused a couple of seconds and then began to climb the fence. He put his foot on the top of the fence and paused again. And then he threw himself off."

Silva and other motorists said that at first they thought the jump was an extreme-sports stunt, then realized that the jumper didn't have a parachute or safety cord.

Silva said he called 911 immediately.

A Rancho Palos Verdes man who was driving on the bridge said the director appeared "determined" and "resolute."

Eric Brill, 59, said he was returning home after visiting his mother in Laguna Woods when he spotted a man wearing multicolored clothing climbing one of the cables on the bridge. The man was "clambering up in a very strong way," Brill said, something that confused him until he read later that Scott was an avid rock climber.

"It takes a while to register in your brain, because you're not used to seeing anything like this, and for a few seconds you think it's some kind of mistake," Brill said. "I looked more closely, [thinking that] perhaps it's a maintenance man. But I knew very soon after that it wasn't anyone doing maintenance.”

As Brill was about to drive past Scott, he said, the director "turned around, as if to see if someone was after him."

"I could very, very clearly see his face," Brill said. "He was very determined. He was not crying, he didn't look upset, he didn't look sad. He just looked very resolute."

Brill said he had read accounts from witnesses describing Scott as nervous and fidgety.

"I didn't see that," Brill said. "What I saw was a very determined guy."


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-- Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton and  Kate Mather

Photo: Tony, left, and Ridley Scott at the BAFTA Los Angeles 2010 Britannia Awards. Credit: Todd Williamson / Getty Images