How the world mourned tragic death of John Lennon 40 years ago: In photos

Crowds gathering outside the home of John Lennon in New York after the news that he had been shot and killed. Photo by Keystone.
Crowds gathering outside the home of John Lennon in New York after the news that he had been shot and killed. Photo by Keystone. (Getty Images)

For those who don’t know what an icon John Lennon was, all they would have to do was look at the scenes around New York City and the world both on Dec. 8, 1980, and in the hours and days that followed.

As hard as it is to believe, Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Lennon being shot and killed outside his residence in New York City’s Dakota Apartments.

A legendary figure of The Beatles, Lennon, as he was walking into the apartment building, was gunned down by Mark David Chapman, a one-time fan who had plotted to kill the musician for months after being angered by what he said were public statements and lifestyle choices made by Lennon.

Ironically, Lennon signed an album for Chapman hours before Chapman returned to the gate of the apartment building and opened fire, after Lennon left his limousine and was walking inside.

News of Lennon’s death was announced live on “Monday Night Football” by Howard Cosell, and both that night and in the days after, Lennon’s fans took to the streets to memorialize him.

It’s a good bet that fans will be visiting the Dakota building and Lennon memorials in New York City throughout Tuesday, but below are some photos expressing the grief, shock and anger many felt on and after that fateful night 40 years ago.

All photos are copyright Getty Images.

Some of the 50,000 people express their sentiments toward slain former Beatle John Lennon during a silent vigil for Lennon in Central Park, Dec. 14. A man with a "Lennon Lives On" T-shirt is shown seated on someone's shoulders in front of a four-part sign saying "We Still Love John.” (Getty Images)
A small group of Beatles fans stand vigil outside The Dakota Apartments on Dec. 8, to mark the third anniversary of John Lennon's death. Lennon was shot to death Dec. 8, 1980, outside The Dakota. (Getty Images)
Fans of John Lennon hold a vigil after he was shot dead by a fan on Dec. 8 at his home in New York. (Photo by Hulton Archive). (Getty Images)
Mourners offer tributes of flowers and candles after the death of John Lennon. (Photo by David H. Wells/Corbis) (Getty Images)
A portion of the crowd of more than 2,000 people who attended candlelight ceremonies in memory of John Lennon are shown at Century City on Dec. 9. (Getty Images)
This photo shows the heavy law enforcement presence outside The Dakota, the apartment complex where John Lennon lived and was killed, on Dec. 9, 1980 in New York City. Lennon was killed one day earlier. (Photo by Yvonne Hemsey). (Getty Images)
A mourner lays flowers near a photo of John Lennon during a vigil after the musician's 1980 killing. (Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis). (Getty Images)
A man and woman among the crowd in Central Park, New York, who have gathered to mourn the death of John Lennon. The man holds a picture of Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed during one of their "love-in" peace protests. (Photo by Luiz Alberto/Keystone). (Getty Images)
Yoko Ono, wife of former Beatles star John Lennon, leaves the Roosevelt Hospital following the shooting of her husband on Dec. 8. Lennon died in the emergency room. At right is David Geffen, president of the company for which Lennon recorded his latest album. (Getty Images)
Mark David Chapman (head covered), accused assassin of former Beatles legend John Lennon, is protected by security on return to Bellevue Hospital on Dec. 11, following a court appearance at which his attorney, Herbert Adlerberg, asked to be removed from the case. (Getty Images)
A man and woman among the crowd in Central Park, New York, who have gathered to mourn the death of John Lennon. The man holds a picture of Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed during one of their "love-in" peace protests. (Photo by Luiz Alberto/Keystone). (Getty Images)
About 5,000 Japanese fans of John Lennon carry a banner that says "John Lennon Forever" as they march through the streets of the Ginza district in downtown Tokyo, on Christmas Eve, to mourn the death of Lennon. (Getty Images)
Mourners hold up newspapers announcing the death of musician John Lennon in New York City, December 1980. (Photo by James Pozarik) (Getty Images)
A crowd stands in the rain outside the Dakota, some holding pictures of John Lennon. (Getty Images)
Mourners pay tribute to John Lennon. (Getty Images)
A young woman is holding a sign that says "Imagine" at a John Lennon vigil in New York City in December 1980. (Photo by Susan Phillips/Corbis). (Getty Images)
A doorman watches as a mourner affixes a photo of John Lennon to a gate at the entrance to Dakota Apartments, on Manhattan's west side. Former Beatles star John Lennon was shot to death outside the building late Dec. 8. (Getty Images)
A man identified as Mark David Chapman is escorted out of the police station early Dec. 9. Chapman is a suspect in the shooting death of former Beatles star John Lennon. (Getty Images)
Distraught fans of ex-Beatles legend John Lennon gather outside his apartment building late Dec. 8, after he was gunned down by a man identified as Mark David Chapman, 25, of Hawaii. (Getty Images)
A young man holds a sign saying "Give Peace a Chance 1940-1980," as people commemorate John Lennon in Central Park in New York after his death in 1980. (Photo by Mariette Pathy Allen). (Getty Images)

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Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.