George Harrison Was Determined to Die on His Own Terms

The late George Harrison rose to fame as the Beatles’ lead guitarist. He wrote hit songs for the group, including “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Here Comes the Sun.” Here’s what Harrison said about dying on his own terms.

George Harrison always knew he would be a musician

George Harrison was the Beatles' lead guitarist.
George Harrison | Michael Putland/Getty Images

During an old clip that appeared in the documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Harrison spoke about the moment he knew what he wanted to do for a living. He said he and his bandmates didn’t have a good reason to believe they would become established entertainers. All they had was a “feeling” that it would come true. (Here’s how Dolly Parton knew she wanted to be a singer.)

“There was no justification for it,” said Harrison. “We kind of had a feeling that that’s what we were going to do, and that you know, it was felt that something good was going to happen.”

George Harrison wanted to die on his terms

Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, initially thought he was going to die in 1999. An intruder stabbed him five times while he was home with his wife, Olivia. During the documentary, Olivia says George told her he was determined to die on his terms. (Read how Michael Landon wanted to die on his own terms.)

“I was lying there, and I was thinking, I can’t believe it,” Olivia says Harrison told her. “After everything that’s happened to me, I’m going to be murdered. I’m being murdered in my own home, and since I’m being murdered, and I’m going to die, I better start letting go of this life. And I better start doing what I’ve been practicing to do my whole life, so I can leave my body the way I want to.”

Olivia described Harrison as being “so defiant and so determined” to die in a way he wanted. “Nothing was going to stop him from leaving his body and leaping as high as he could go,” said Olivia during the documentary.

George Harrison said he didn’t have much reason to stay on earth

During the court hearing, Harrison spoke about the vicious attack. He described feeling the “strength” drain from his body, reports The Guardian. The force from the stab wounds caused Harrison’s lung to collapse.

“I felt exhausted and could feel the strength draining from me,” said Harrison during the court trial, according to The Guardian. “I vividly remember a deliberate thrust to my chest. I could hear my lung exhaling and had blood in my mouth. I believed I had been fatally stabbed.”

Harrison told the documentarian that when he really thought about it, he didn’t have much of a reason to remain on this earth. Other than his family, there wasn’t much left for him. He was OK with leaving this life behind.

“I had an experience which speeds up the whole idea of, you know, if you have something happen to you physically, then, you know, people go in the hospital, or have something wrong with them, and have a shock or something like that. And then you think, ‘Wow, I could be dying now.’”

Harrison said he thought about what he would miss. And he couldn’t think of many things he would be sad to leave. “If I was dying now, what would I think?” said Harrison. “What would I miss? I’ve got a son who needs a father, so I have to stick around for him as long as I can. Other than that, I can’t think of much reason to be here.”

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