Why is John Lennon dead

John Lennon was shot 40 years ago - his killer wanted "fame"

Even today, many things are reminiscent of the music legend John Lennon. The Beatles star died exactly 40 years ago after a confused fan shot him in front of his apartment building in New York.

Much of the area around the posh Dakota apartment complex on New York's Upper West Side is still reminiscent of John Lennon. Photos of the Beatles singer hang in shops and restaurants, a tree was knitted with wool in his honor, and people often meet at the "Strawberry Fields" memorial, which was laid out in Central Park by widow Yoko Ono, who still lives in Dakota Fans and musicians and sing Beatles songs together. Right outside the Dakota, Lennon was murdered 40 years ago on December 8th.

Mark David Chapman, a then 25-year-old from Texas, fired the fatal shots. With an edition by J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye", Chapman waited in front of the Dakota and first had a record signed by Lennon. When the singer passed him again a few hours later, Chapman shot. "I was hit", Lennon's last words are said to have been - shortly afterwards the singer dies in the hospital. Chapman remains seated in front of the Dakota until the police arrest him.

New York: The Dakota apartment complex on the Upper West Side - right in front of the Dakota, the British musician John Lennon was murdered 40 years ago on December 8th. (Source: dpa)

The news of the death of Lennon - music cult figure and avowed pacifist - causes shock and horror worldwide. "It was like waking from a dream and since then I've never been a kid," said son Sean Lennon, then five years old, later in an interview.

John Lennon, the exceptional musician and peace activist

When he died, Lennon was just 40 years old and had become a cult figure for a whole generation. His time as a singer and songwriter for the Beatles, his solo albums and his art happenings fascinated and polarized millions of people around the world. At the age of 15 he had founded his first band in Liverpool, then he met Paul McCartney and it became the Beatles - those with songs like "A Hard Day's Night", "Help!" or "All You Need Is Love" celebrated worldwide success and made music history.

Beatles: John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (Source: imago images / Prod.DB)

In 1970 the Beatles split up, and Lennon was already more interested in his newlywed wife Yoko Ono and a solo career. The family life together in New York was determined by music, art and peace activism until Lennon's death.

"It was about fame for myself"

The now 65-year-old murderer Chapman was sentenced to "20 years to life" in prison for the act and has been in custody ever since, currently in a prison in the north of the US state of New York. He has already applied for parole eleven times and has been refused eleven times - also because widow Yoko Ono spoke out against it every time. Chapman can apply for parole again in two years at the earliest. He was sorry for the act, Chapman said this year, according to media reports. "I have no excuse. It was about fame for myself."

Lennon remains a cult figure revered by millions of fans around the world. In his honor, a few weeks ago, on the day the musician would have celebrated his 80th birthday, even the top of the New York Empire State Building shone blue and a peace sign could be seen on the building.

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  • Subjects:
  • Entertainment,
  • Music,
  • Crime,
  • Great Britain,
  • John Lennon,
  • Yoko Ono,
  • Paul McCartney,
  • Beatles,
  • New York,
  • Music history,
  • Sean Lennon,
  • Mark David Chapman