Dec. 8: John Lennon Shot, Killed 1980

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1980 John Lennon Killed

The Beatles' musician John Lennon was shot and killed outside of his New York City apartment on the night of Dec. 8, 1980.  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.

The "Imagine" mosaic is shown, in this Dec. 7, 2000 file photo in the area known as "Strawberry Fields" in New York's Central Park. (Spencer Platt/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

Fans pay tribute to Lennon at Central Park's "Imagine" sign, located at the Strawberry Fields region.   Strawberry Fields opened on what would have been Lennon's 45th birthday, Oct. 9, 1985.

Large crowds gather each year for a vigil on the anniversary of his death, but on any given day visitors will find roses laid around the sign and fans snapping photos of themselves with the iconic image.

Explore John Lennon's legacy and leave your own tribute at the Imagine Peace Website.

2000 Mark David Chapman Interview

Twenty years after Lennon's death, Barbara Walters revisited her 1992 interview with Mark David Chapman.  This was the killer's first televised interview.

Chapman was sentenced t0 20 years to life for killing Lennon and is serving his time at New York's Attica Prison.  He is one of the many infamous killers said to have carried a copy of J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" with him.

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

Jump back to Dec. 7: Day in History.

View more videos from This Month in History: December.

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