John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, UK. By 1957, Lennon had met Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and they started to play music together. After several name changes, the group became known as The Beatles. Following the replacement of drummer Pete Best by Ringo Starr in 1962, the group released their first single, beginning a long musical career that would lead to them becoming one of the most acclaimed bands of all time.
After The Beatles disbanded, Lennon stayed in the public eye with his solo music career, collaborative efforts with his wife Yoko Ono, and political activism for peaceful causes. On December 8, 1980, he opened his home to a photographer from Rolling Stone magazine, and later was interviewed by a Disc Jockey from San Francisco. Lennon and Ono left their apartment together right around 5:00 PM to head out for a musical session at the Record Plant Studio.
Before he could get into an awaiting limousine, fans asking for autographs stopped him, and he was happy to oblige. One of the fans was a man named Mark David Chapman who had a record signed and a photo taken with the star. As Lennon and Ono headed to the studio, Chapman remained in front of the building where the couple lived.
When Lennon returned, Chapman was still there waiting for him. Chapman watched as Lennon exited the vehicle and walked towards his home. Before he could get inside, Chapman pulled out a .38 Special revolver and fired five shots. All but one of the bullets made contact, but Lennon managed to make it into the building to inform the concierge that he had been shot.
A doorman at the building named Jose Perdomo managed to get the gun away from Chapman. The assassin removed his coat and appeared to wait patiently for the police. Chapman was taken away calmly and without incident, and Lennon was transported to the Roosevelt Hospital. He was pronounced dead upon arrival.
In the aftermath, Chapman was found guilty of second degree murder and given a sentence of 20 years to life. Lennon’s body was cremated two days after his death, and his ashes were delivered to his grieving widow.