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On This Day in 1980: Beatles Icon John Lennon Killed

David Farrell/Redferns(NEW YORK) -- Beatles fans the world over are marking the 31st anniversary of John Lennon's death. The Beatles legend was shot and killed on the night of Dec. 8, 1980, outside of his New York City apartment.

Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were returning from the recording studio to their home at The Dakota when 25-year-old crazed fan Mark David Chapman shot him at close range.  Earlier in the day Chapman had been hanging around The Dakota with other fans and asked Lennon for an autograph.

When The Beatles broke up in 1970, John Lennon focused on humanitarian and social activism.  After the 1975 birth of his son Sean, John Lennon retreated from public eye to concentrate on his family.  John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s  1980 Double-Fantasy album was planned to be his comeback in the music scene.  Lennon was murdered just weeks after Double-Fantasy was released.

Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life for killing Lennon and is serving his time at New York’s Attica Prison.

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When ABC’s Barbara Walters asked why he did it, Chapman replied with a straight face, “I thought by killing him, I would acquire his fame.”

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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