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Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr honour John Lennon on 40th anniversary of his death

By Zach Harper

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The world was shocked when John Lennon was shot to death outside his home in the Dakota building in New York's Greenwich Village on Dec. 8, 1980.

John was 40 years old when he died, and it's now been 40 years since the world lost him. It was an event that devastated Yoko Ono, John's former Beatles members, the music industry, fans and celebrities. Many of them honoured the legendary songwriter with tributes this week.

"A sad day but remembering my friend John with the great joy he brought to the world," Paul McCartney tweeted. "I will always be proud and happy to have known and worked with this incredible Scouser!" he added, referring to accent and dialect of English that's native to Liverpool, the city where The Beatles got their start. He also shared a photo of him and John, which was taken by his late wife, Linda McCartney.

Yoko told fans she still finds the day difficult, as do Sean Lennon and Julian Lennon. Sean is Yoko and John's son, and Julian is his son with the late Cynthia Lennon, his first wife.

"The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience," Yoko tweeted. "After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him." She ended by quoting "Imagine," writing, "Imagine all the people living life in peace."

As she does every year, Yoko also shared a photo of John's glasses that she famously took after his death, and highlighted deaths in the United States due to firearms since John was killed. She said more than 1.4 million people have lost their lives due to gun violence in the United States since Dec. 8, 1980.

"Tuesday, 8 December 1980 we all had to say goodbye to John," Ringo Starr tweeted. "I'm asking every music station in the world sometime today to play 'Strawberry Fields Forever.' Peace and love." He shared a photo of him with John that was taken around the time Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was recorded.

"40 years ago, we lost an icon," Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded nearly all of their albums and hit singles, tweeted.

Following John's death, Mark David Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He remains in prison today, having been denied parole several times. This past year, he was rejected for the eleventh time, with officials saying releasing him from prison would be "incompatible with the welfare of society." He is eligible for parole again in 2022.

As they do every year, fans flocked to Central Park's Strawberry Fields to pay tribute to John on Dec. 8, 2020. Photo: © TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

In honour of John, New York City turned part of Central Park across from the Dakota building into Strawberry Fields. Every year since 1985 when it was installed, fans flock there to lay flowers on its "Imagine" memorial mosaic on John's birthday and the anniversary of his death. Many fans did that today and shared their experiences there, which you can see below.

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