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How Did John Lennon Die? The Details Behind John Lennon’s Death

john lennon statue at madam tussands
Prague, Czech republic, July 22, 2017: John Lenon in Grevin museum of the wax figures in Prague. Image from Shutterstock.

John Lennon’s death was one of the saddest events in rock history. Long a champion of peace and love, his violent death sent shockwaves across the world.

How did John Lennon die? Find out all the details below.

How Did John Lennon Die?

John Lennon was shot to death by deranged fan Mark David Chapman.

In 1980, the “Imagine” singer came out of a five-year hiatus to release Double Fantasy, his first album of original material since 1974’s Walls and Bridges.

Early on the morning of December 8, 1980, Chapman had Lennon sign a copy of Double Fantasy for him. After an evening of recording, Lennon walked back to his home at the Dakota apartment building in New York without his security detail.

After entering the lobby, Chapman called to him and shot him four times. A police car rushed Lennon to Roosevelt Hospital, where, on arrival, he was pronounced dead.

When police arrived at the scene, Chapman was found sitting there reading The Catcher in the Rye, a novel by J. D. Salinger.

Chapman had developed a wish to emulate Holden Caulfield, the protagonist in the novel who resented hypocrisy. Chapman had been a fan of Lennon but grew resentment towards him looking at his lavish lifestyle and lyrics of the songs “Imagine” and “God.”

When Did John Lennon Die?

The legendary singer, songwriter, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist was murdered on December 8, 1980.

How Old Was John Lennon When He Died?

John Lennon was 40 years old when he was killed.

an old image of the beatles
Image from Shutterstock. The Beatles with a young John Lennon pictured far right.

Where is John Lennon Buried?

The “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” singer never got buried. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the area of New York City’s Central Park, now called the Strawberry Fields.

Who Inherited John Lennon’s Money?

John Lennon left his entire estate to his wife, Yoko Ono, and his son, Sean Lennon.

What Were John Lennon’s Last Words?

It has been reported that John Lennon’s last words were “I’m shot.”

Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, remembers his last words being more heartbreaking. She wanted to go out to dinner after working in the studio for the evening, and he responded, “No, let’s go home because I want to see Sean before he goes to sleep.” Sean is Lennon and Ono’s son.

John Lennon’s Funeral

John Lennon’s cremation was private, and there was no funeral for the legend. However, a vigil was held for him by his widow, Yoko Ono, and son, Sean, on December 14, 1980, which included a minute of silence.

Did Paul McCartney Go to John Lennon’s Funeral?

Though John Lennon didn’t have a funeral, his friend and longtime collaborator Paul McCartney showed visible pain when he was interviewed the day after Lennon’s assassination. He also went on to write “Here Today” as a tribute to his fallen friend.

john lennon and yoko ono. how did john lennon die?
Image from Shutterstock.

Why Was John Lennon Killed?

Chapman was especially incensed by a public remark that Lennon made about the Beatles, saying that the band was “more popular than Jesus.” He did not have any previous criminal convictions but admitted to having contemplated killing other famous figures, including Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Paul McCartney, and Johnny Carson.

Chapman took retirement from his job as a security guard in Hawaii and planned John Lennon’s assassination for three months before carrying it out. In Chapman’s own words, “He told us to imagine no possessions and there he was, with millions of dollars and yachts and farms and country estates, laughing at people like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big part of their lives around his music.”

Related: John Lennon’s Net Worth

Who is John Lennon?

John Lennon was a singer and songwriter as well as the founder of the Beatles, a band that transformed the popular music scene as, arguably, no other group has ever been able to.

In 1957, Lennon met Paul McCartney and invited him to join the Quarrymen, a skiffle music group that he had formed as inspiration from Elvis Presley’s explosive entry onto the rock music scene.

Lennon and McCartney went on to form music history’s most successful songwriting partnership and founded The Beatles. In 1969, Lennon left the band and started producing singles as well as albums with his wife, Yoko Ono.

John Lennon’s Wife

Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia Powell, was his fellow student at the Liverpool College of Arts. Cynthia got impregnated with Lennon’s kid, and the couple got married on 23rd August 1962.

Cynthia gave birth to Julian on 8th April 1963. However, in November 1968, the couple got divorced with an out-of-court settlement.

Lennon started seeing Yoko Ono even before his marriage with Powell had ended, and the two got married in March 1969. on 9th October 1975, Ono gave birth to John Lennon’s second son (first with her), Sean Lennon.

the beatles albums and a picture of the beatles
Image from Shutterstock.

The Beatles

Lennon, as a performer and writer/co-writer, had 25 no.1 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He was ranked as the thirty-eighth greatest artist and the fifth-greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone.

However, his legacy with the Beatles, being the best-selling band of all time, is what he is known for the best. The band influenced pop culture in music, film, fashion, and global representation.

It all started in 1957 when Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time. The Quarrymen were getting ready for a performance at a church fete in Woolton when the bass player of the band introduced the sixteen-year-old rhythm guitarist, John Lennon, to his classmate, 15-year-old Paul McCartney.

McCartney joined the band for a couple of numbers that night and was offered a position in the Quarrymen.

Lennon and McCartney were the two songwriters in the band, and they agreed to credit all the group’s songs to Lennon-McCartney. Even on occasions where one of them would happen to write a song entirely on their own.

After a couple of band name changes, as well as member changes, what was once The Quarrymen became who we know them as, ‘The Beatles.’ The name came from combining the words “beat” and “beetles.”

From 1960 to 1962, the band performed on and off in Hamburg with interspersed engagements in Liverpool. Brian Epstein saw the Beatles perform at the Cavern Club and approached the group about managing them on 10th December 1961.

The Beatles signed their first contract with Epstein in January 1962. They recorded four songs, “PS I Love You,” “Ask Me Why,” “Besame Mucho,” and “Love Me Do,” at EMI Studios in London with producer George Martin on 6th June that year.   

The Beatles released their first single, “Please Please Me,” in January 1963, which topped the UK charts. The song was just the first of a streak through 1970 that saw 11 of their 12 albums topping the UK Charts.

The Beatles have an estimated worldwide sales of over 600 million units and certified US sales of more than 183 million units. In 1988, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The band also appeared in five motion pictures between the years 1964 and 1970 and holds the records for most singles sold in the UK, most no.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and most no.1 albums on the UK Albums Chart.

Related: 15 Beatles Facts


John Lennon was one of the most creative minds of the 20th century. Even over 40 years after his death, he is still mourned around the world. His music is sure to keep his memory alive for centuries to come.

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Written by Anna Paulson


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