Many musicians are known to be part of the 27 Club, which is a collective term used for artists who died aged 27. Among this group is Amy Winehouse, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. However, John Lennon’s death was a completely different circumstance, and one which shocked and devasted fans.
Who killed John Lennon?
The man jailed for the murder of John Lennon was Mark David Chapman, who is believed to have been a crazed fan hellbent on killing a public figure.
On December 8, 1980, Lennon autographed a copy of the album for Chapman, before leaving where they lived at The Dakota in Manhattan for a recording session at the Record Plant, in New York City.
After the session, Lennon and Ono returned to their apartment in Manhattan in a limo at just before 11pm, and walked through the archway of their building.
Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon
Sadly, it was then Chapman shot Lennon in the back at close range.
He was rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, but was pronounced dead on arrival at 11pm.
Lennon is likely to have died in the police cruiser en route to the hospital, though it is uncertain whether he was shot dead instantaneously.
Chapman has been understood to have been furious at Lennon for his public statements, such as being “more popular than Jesus,” despite being a Beatles fan.
He is also believed to have contemplated killing other public figures, such as Ronald Reagan and Elizabeth Taylor, but he had no prior convictions before the shooting.
After hitting Lennon four times in the back, despite shooting five times, he remained at the scene reading JD Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, which he is reported to have become obsessed by in the years leading up to the murder.
He was arrested at the scene and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison with mental health treatment.
Chapman has since been refused parole many times, something which Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, has fought to ensure.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney as Beatles
Crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of the Dakota, where Lennon was shot to commemorate his death, though Lennon himself had asked not to have a funeral.
He was cremated at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, on December 12 and his ashes were given to his widow Yoko Ono, who requested 10 minutes of silence around the world instead of the funeral.
Ono and her son with Lennon, Sean, were the main beneficiaries of his will.
His other son, Julian, from his first marriage with Cynthia, received little from the will, which is something he has spoken openly about since.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
In an interview with The Telegraph in 1998, Julian said of his father: “Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son.
“How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces – no communication, adultery, divorce? You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.”
Speaking out about the will in the same interview, Julian said: “I don’t think it was necessarily fair, but I’m OK.
“The last thing I wanted was a court battle because there’s much more money on the estate side than my side.
John’s son Julian Lennon
“A court case could have gone on for five years. The slanderous remarks would have been horrific.
“There would not have been a private life for either Sean or me. I just wanted to resolve it, to get the hell out of there; a chapter in my life finished, over with.”
Despite these sentiments, there was a well-publicised battle from Julian to attempt to gain a further settlement from the John Lennon estate, which was once estimated to be around £220million.
Julian eventually secured a further settlement from the estate in 1996, but the number was never revealed, and the battle saw Julian go up against the main executor of the estate, his stepmother.
In the end, Julian used a great deal of this to buy back some of his father’s possessions, including an Afghan coat worn by John on the cover of the Magical Mystery Tour, and scribbled notes about the song Hey Jude, which is written about him.