The Beatles’ final visit with George Harrison included ‘tears, love and laughter’

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19-years-ago today, on November 29, 2001, George Harrison died. The Beatles star suffered with lung cancer, and after numerous treatments, was confined to his home in Hollywood Hills. The star died at 9.30pm, surrounded by his wife, Olivia Harrison, son, Dhani Harrison, and friends including Ravi Shankar. The star was cremated the same day, and had his ashes scattered in the Ganges River, in India, as per his Hindu tradition dictated.

Just 17 days before Harrison’s death, he with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in a hotel room in Manhattan.

On November 12, 2001, the three Beatles got together to reminisce about old times, and say their goodbyes to one another.

Harrison’s doctor, Gil Lederman, also attended the meeting to monitor the star’s health. He later revealed what happened in the final, fateful meeting between the three Beatles.

Gil explained: “ There were some tears – but there was more laughter than anything else.”

Gil explained that, despite the event being fundamentally sad, the three of them were quite cheerful.

He said: “It was a spirited affair, not a sombre one.

“There were lots of laughs and lots of fun. They spent hours reminiscing.”

Of course, the reality of a dying life-long friend also weighed heavy on Paul and Ringo.

The doctor added: “There were tears, but George remained very much the man of dignity.

“At the end, after both Paul and Ringo had left, [George] was fine and calm. He was a very happy man. This meeting meant so much to him.”

A friend of the Beatles later explained: “George was clearly picked up by the afternoon. He was smiling, happy and seemed so delighted to see his friends.

“Deep down he knew this was their last moments together and realised just what a great life they had together.”

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George’s friend continued: “Of course there were tears, but that was during the goodbyes.

“For the most part George, Paul and Ringo forgot about his condition and all seemed to carry on as if they hadn’t been apart from each other for 30 years.”

Years later McCartney spoke candidly about the meeting.

He said: “I sat with him for a few hours when he was in treatment just outside New York.”

McCartney continued: “He was about 10 days away from his death, as I recall. We joked about things – just amusing, nutty stuff.

“It was good. It was like we were dreaming. He was my little baby brother, almost, because I’d known him that long.

“We held hands. It’s funny, even at the height of our friendship – as guys – you would never hold hands. It just wasn’t a Liverpool thing. But it was lovely.”


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