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George Harrison mourned

Abbey Road

Fans left tributes at Abbey Road studios

Beatles fans across the world gathered to remember and pay tribute to singer, guitarist and songwriter George Harrison, who died of lung cancer.

On Friday 30th November 2001, Liverpool - Harrison's birthplace - was a city in mourning, with the union flag at half mast over the town hall and a stream of visitors arriving to sign a book of condolence.

Another book was opened at The Beatles' Story museum, and the Liverpool Echo produced a special 24-page section dedicated to one of the city's most famous sons.

Strawberry Fields, Central Park
US fans gathered in the garden dedicated to Lennon

Fans, some of whom half-expected the news of Harrison's death, were nonetheless devastated.

Music-lovers laid flowers and lit candles at Strawberry Fields in New York's Central Park, an area created in memory of John Lennon, who was murdered nearby in 1980.

Mourners left tributes at Abbey Road recording studios in London, where the Beatles recorded almost all their famous tracks, and Harrison's home, Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames.

Harrison, who was 58, died at 1330 local time on Thursday 29th November, at the home of his friend Gavin De Becker, in Los Angeles. His wife Olivia and son Dhani, 24, were at his side.

Harrison's family issued a statement saying: "He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends.

George Harrison
Harrison was the youngest Beatle

"He often said, 'Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another'."

Cancelled

Sales of Harrison's albums shot up during the day, and a remastered version of his most popular solo release All Things Must Pass went into the top 10 of internet store Amazon.

Organisers of the first Top of the Pops Awards, to be held in Manchester the following Friday, said a tribute would be paid to Harrison during the ceremony. But Sir Paul McCartney, who is to be inducted into the Top of the Pops Hall of Fame at the ceremony, decided not to perform after hearing of his former bandmate's death.

 

Fans have been laying flowers at his statue in Liverpool
Fans have laid flowers at his statue in Liverpool

Sir Paul said: "I am devastated and very, very sad. "We knew he'd been ill for a long time. He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humour. "He is really just my baby brother."

Harrison's death also brought tributes from the UK's most senior figures as well as others close to the singer.

Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth was "very sad to hear of the death of George Harrison".

Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "He wasn't just a great musician, an artist, but did a lot of work for charity as well. He'll be greatly missed around the world."

'Laughter'

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, speaking from a friend's house in Vancouver, Canada said: "George was a best friend of mine. "We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter."

George and Olivia Harrison
Harrison married his second wife Olivia in 1978

John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, said: "George has given so much to us in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom.

"Thank you George, it was grand knowing you."

Beatles producer Sir George Martin said: "I believe, as he did, that he has entered a higher state. God give him peace."

Harrison announced in July he had received treatment in Switzerland for a tumour. He had surgery for lung cancer in May.

Harrison's life was also threatened when he was stabbed by an intruder at his home in at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire in 1999.

George
George was the first Beatle to enjoy solo success

The former Beatle, who was the group's youngest member, was just 27 when the band split in 1970.

They managed to conquer the world musically, achieving 27 number one records in the UK and the US during their career - and topping the charts again in 2000 with a compilation of all their number one hits.

 

 

Harrison's post-Beatles career started with the critically acclaimed solo album All Things Must Pass.

He became a film producer in 1979, backing Monty Python's Life of Brian and, later, The Long Good Friday, Time Bandits and Mona Lisa.

The Beatles
The Beatles: Achieved unprecedented fame

 

Always known for his spirituality, Harrison summed up his personal mission succinctly in 1992:

 "The purpose of life is to find out 'Who am I?', 'Why am I here?' and 'Where am I going?'"

 

 

Links: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/obituaries/george_harrison/default.stm  
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/music/newsid_1684000/1684710.stm 

More George Harrison: 
http://web.mit.edu/scholvin/www/harrison/harrison.html
 
Futurama


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