Beatle George Harrison Dies
...In June, he was treated at a Swiss clinic for a brain tumor, just months after checking into the Mayo Clinic to have a cancerous lung operated on....
Nov 30 4:23 AM ET
Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)
Posted on: 12/01/2001
Beatle George Harrison Dies
Indeed, all things must pass:
Harrison, the so-called "Quiet Beatle," whose contributions to rock
'n' roll were anything but, died Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles
following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 58.
According to news reports, Harrison died at about 1:30 p.m. in a
friend's home. His wife, Olivia, and son, Dhani, 24, were at his side.
The news comes
just days after reports surfaced that Harrison was in the City of Angels
receiving chemotherapy treatment at UCLA Medical Center. Previously, he
was reported to have been in a Staten Island hospital undergoing
experimental radiosurgery for cancer.
While there, he was said to have been visited by longtime friends and
former bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. McCartney reportedly
broke down in tears during what was the final reunion of the three
Harrison's family issued a
brief statement late Thursday night: "He left this world as he lived in
it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by
family and friends. He often said, 'Everything else can wait, but the
search for God cannot wait, and love one another.' "
It wasn't immediately
known if there would be a public funeral for Harrison. A private
ceremony had already taken place, longtime friend Gavin De Becker told
the Associated Press.
Harrison had been in
failing health for some time. In June, he was treated at a
Swiss clinic for a brain tumor, just months after checking into
the Mayo Clinic to have surgery on a cancerous lung. He had been
battling various forms of the disease for at least three years: In
1998, he underwent radiation therapy for throat cancer, which he
attributed to years of smoking.
Despite dire reports of his impending demise this summer, the
musician issued an angry statement proclaiming he was alive,
well and ready to record again.
Harrison reportedly headed back to the studio October 1 to
record his first new single--and, sadly, his last--since his brain
tumor treatment. That final tune, "Horse to the Water," cowritten
with Dhani and recorded with British musician Jools Holland,
appears on Holland's Small World Big Band, released in
Britain on November 19.
With a wink to the
increasingly grim news of his health over the past months, and
displaying his characteristic dark humor, Harrison credited the song not
to his longtime publishing company, Harrisongs, but to "RIP Ltd. 2001."
Given his low-key demeanor,
Harrison admitted he never was completely comfortable with the
superstar status he achieved with the Beatles. Throughout the
years, he fiercely guarded his privacy and was rarely seen in
The youngest Beatle, Harrison
was born in Liverpool on February 25, 1943. His
father, Harold, was a bus driver, and his mother, Louise, a
housewife who looked after George and his two brothers and one sister.
It was Harrison's love of guitars and
American rockers like Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry that spurred a
friendship with an older school chum named Paul McCartney. Paul
introduced George to the Quarrymen, a Liverpool band founded by
John Lennon. After several lineup changes and a name
change, Harrison, Lennon and McCartney brought drummer Ringo
Starr aboard. The rest is rock 'n' roll history.
While McCartney and Lennon wrote the bulk of the Beatles' hits,
Harrison did have his share of nuggets, including "Taxman,"
"Something," "Here Comes the Sun" and "While My Guitar Gently
Weeps." He also helped introduced Indian culture to pop music,
playing the sitar on "Norwegian Wood" and getting the Beatles
hooked on Eastern religion.
After the Beatles' breakup in 1970, Harrison was first out of
the solo gate with All Things Must
Pass, which yielded radio-friendly hits such as "What Is Life?,"
"If Not for You" and the chart-topping spiritual anthem "My Sweet
Soon after, Harrison
staged the Concert for Bangladesh, a two-day, all-star event
held at New York's Madison Square Garden to raise money for the
poverty-stricken country. Those shows later became a movie and
Grammy-winning live album and served as a model for latter-day
megabenefits like Live Aid and the Tibetan Freedom Concert.
Through most of the '80s, little of
Harrison's music was commercially or critically embraced. But
in 1987, he staged a comeback with the chart-topping Cloud
A year later, the Beatles were
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Harrison also cofounded the Traveling Wilburys--a supergroup
consisting of Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff
Lynne. The group's 1988 album, Vol. 1, yielded two hit
singles and scored the Wilburys a Grammy.
In the mid 1990s, Harrison returned to his Liverpool roots,
reuniting with McCartney and Starr on two unfinished Lennon tracks,
"Free as a Bird" and "Real Love." The cuts, part of the comprehensive
Anthology project, earned the group three more Grammys (news - web sites) to go with
their four '60s-era trophies.
In 1999, a disturbed fan broke into Harrison's suburban London
home and stabbed him several times
in the chest, puncturing his lung. Harrison eventually recovered; the
assailant, 34-year-old Michael Abram, was later acquitted by
reason of insanity and remanded to a mental institution.
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In September, British health officials issued a
formal apology to Harrison, saying they failed to adequately
treat Abram and he should never have been released.
Earlier this year, the usually media-shy Harrison
made the rounds promoting the 30th anniversary of All Things
Must Pass, telling an interviewer: "I had a little throat
cancer. I had a piece of my lung removed in 1997. And then I
was almost murdered. But I seem to feel stronger...
"[But] I'm a little more short of breath than I used
to be, so I don't see myself on stage lasting a full 14
Survivors include his second
wife, Olivia, his son and bandmates McCartney and Starr.
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