John Lennon’s death in 1980 shocked and devastated The Beatles fans the world over. The Imagine hitmaker was fatally shot by Mark Chapman outside his home in The Dakota, Manhattan, on the evening of December 8 when he returned from a recording session with his wife, artist Yoko Ono.
Chapman met Lennon when he and Ono left their home earlier that day, handing him a copy of their recent album, Double Fantasy, to sign.
Later that night, The Beatles star returned home with Ono to find Chapman having waited outside for him after getting his autograph.
The assailant shot Lennon four times in the back and stayed at the scene until police came to arrest him.
The musician, meanwhile, was rushed to the nearby Roosevelt Hospital in a bid to save his life.
There, medics worked hard to revive him, with reports varying as to who did what procedures, but they were unable to save his life and Lennon was pronounced dead at the hospital.
In a 2005 interview with The New York Times, Dr. Stephan G. Lynn, who was in charge of the emergency room on the night Lennon was shot, recalled the singer being brought to the hospital with his vital signs showing he was already dead.
The medics worked for 20 minutes in an attempt to resuscitate him, but their efforts sadly failed.
Lynn revealed he did not know, at first, that the patient was The Beatles legend, saying: “All the nurses broke out in tears and most of us said, ‘What just happened here?’ There was a sense we had all just witnessed a major event.”
Lynn was later tasked with breaking the tragic news to Ono, remembering: “When I told her, she said: ‘You’re lying; it can’t be true. He’s not dead. I don’t believe you,’” he said.
Sharing his memories of the moment Ono found out about Lennon’s death, he continued: ”She threw herself down on the floor and began banging her head on the ground.
“I was afraid we’d have a second patient. But after two minutes, she accepted it and asked me to delay announcing the news to the media for 20 minutes because her son Sean was home watching the news, and she wanted to tell him first.”
Ono later opened up about how her famous husband’s death had impacted on her in an interview with The Guardian in 2008.
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“Sometimes John’s death is like a dream,” she said. “Like it never happened. And sometimes it is right here.
“Before it happened, I had a feeling about myself like I was the artist alone, working, but after John went, I had to look at myself and say, ‘You’ve changed. Your life has changed, this is who you are now. You will always be seen as with him.’ And when I did that, I felt differently.”
Speaking to Associated Press the following year, she said: “I still get affected by it. It does affect me.
“The last John I remember is a very gregarious, energetic, high-spirited guy,” she added.
Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder at trial in 1981 and was sentenced to 20 years to life.
He is still serving his sentence, having been denied parole for the 10th time last year.
In August 2018, he was told he had to wait another two years before applying again when he appeared before a parole board in New York.
The panel found his release “would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law”.
It added: “Your criminal history report reflects that this is your only crime of record. However, that does not mitigate your actions.”
The board said that the fact Chapman had a clean prison record since 1994 did not outweigh “the gravity of [his] actions or the serious and senseless loss of life” he caused.