Death of “Quiet” Beatle

The Beatles.

By Irish America Staff
February / March 2002

The world is mourning the death of former Beatles guitarist George Harrison, who died in Los Angeles, aged 58, after a long fight against cancer. In New York, fans gathered at Strawberry Fields in Central Park to pay homage to George at the garden created as a memorial to former Beatle John Lennon, who was murdered in 1980. Liverpool has long been the first port of call for the Irish emigrating to Britain and emotional links between Ireland and Liverpool remain strong. George Harrison was yet another Liverpudlian who could claim Irish ancestry. His maternal grandfather, John French (father of George’s mother, Louise) was born in Co. Wexford in 1870 and moved to Liverpool in the early 1900s. During his childhood, George spent holidays in Ireland and one of his cousins, Tony French, still keeps in contact with the Harrison family in England. George visited Ireland on several occasions during the height of Beatlemania and stayed in his uncle’s home in Drumcondra when they visited Dublin in 1963. In later years, George, who had reason to become very security-conscious after John Lennon’s death at the hands of a crazed fan, felt safe in Ireland. In 1999, he was stabbed in his English mansion by an intruder. He made his first public appearance following the attack in Ireland, releasing a picture of himself and his wife, Olivia, taken in the Irish countryside, where he issued a statement to reassure his fans that the couple were fine after their ordeal. ♦

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