John Lennon was “bubbling over with excitement” about returning to the UK in a phone call the night before he was assassinated in New York, according to a newly released letter by his aunt.
The former Beatle was shot and killed outside his home in Manhattan on 8 December 1980 by Mark Chapman.
The following month, his aunt Mimi Smith replied in a letter to a journalist, Judith Simons of the Daily Express, who had sent her condolences over the assassination.
“Dear Judith, Thank you for your letter, kind thoughts,” Ms Smith wrote.
“I’m trying to accept this terrible thing which has happened, but finding it very hard. He had such faith himself, I’m trying to do the same.
“He phoned the night before, witty, funny, bubbling over with excitement, coming over very soon. Couldn’t wait to see me. So I’m glad of that.
“If I’m in London, I’ll get in touch with you. Kind thoughts to you too. Mimi.”
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The letter “provides solid confirmation that, but for his murder, Lennon would have returned to Britain during 1981 for the first time in 10 years”, said Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn.
The letter from the estate of Judith Simons was recently discovered by Tracks Ltd, which offers valuations of music memorabilia.