Eight Finger Eddie. Image Credit: AP

Panaji: The death of 85-year-old Yertward Mazmanian also known as ‘eight finger Eddie', arguably Goa's first hippie, curiously comes at a time when the state is on the verge of a strategic shift in its tourism approach.

A day before Mazmanian died last Monday, tourism officials stressed the need for bidding goodbye to hippie and backpack tourism at an international travel mart held here. The same hippie culture had helped put Goa on the international tourism map in the 1970s.

Fans pool in

News of the death of the American-born hippie of Armenian descent created a lot of static on social networking site Facebook, where over Rs100,000 (Dh8,262) was pooled from his fans the world over towards his cremation.

It was Norwegian freelance journalist Oystein Krogsrud, who shuttles between Goa and Norway, who gave Eddie company during his last few days in the hospital and the final journey to a local crematorium where Eddie was cremated with Hindu rites.

"I think all hippies who have died here have been cremated..." Oystein said.