Yoko Ono Is Wheelchair-Bound – ‘I’ve Learned So Much From Having This Illness’

The widow of John Lennon, 87-year-old Yoko Ono, has been confined to a wheelchair regularly, according to media outlets. Ono, who has been the loyal keeper and protector of Lennon’s musical and cultural legacy, has “slowed down,” reports state.

Here’s what is known about the artist’s current health status.

Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono | Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

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She has been in a wheelchair for a few years

According to a July 2020 report in The New York Post, Ono has been wheelchair-bound since at least 2017, when she attended an awards ceremony at that time.

At the ceremony for the National Music Publishers’ Association, at which Ono received their Centennial Song Award, Ono stated in her acceptance speech, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, I’ve learned so much from having this illness. I’m thankful I went through that.”

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It is unclear what the actual illness is that the artist has been living with, although it was reported in 2016 that she was hospitalized in New York City with flu-like symptoms. She was admitted to the same hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, where her husband was pronounced dead in 1980 after being shot.

At the time of her hospital stay, many fans were concerned that the late Beatle’s widow had suffered a heart attack or stroke. But her son, Sean, put those rumors to rest in a tweet.

“Only stroke @yokoono had was a Stroke of Genius! … She’s really fine,” he tweeted in 2016. “Thanks for all the well wishes!”

The Post reports a source close to Ono’s staff as saying this week that the elderly artist doesn’t leave her Dakota apartment much anymore and needs constant care.

Ono has been giving charitably during coronavirus (COVID-19)

During the ongoing pandemic, in April 2020, Ono announced on Facebook that she had donated financially to one of the most under-served and hardest hit hospitals in New York City, Montefiore Medical Center. The hospital in late May celebrated its first day without a COVID-19 death since the outbreak’s beginning in March.

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Ono posted on Facebook, “Let’s heal the world together! I have made a substantial donation to Montefiore’s Critical Response Care Fund to support Montefiore Health System & Albert Einstein College of Medicine  #COVID19  frontline medical care teams. Join us! Donate now to save lives and end the #Coronavirus Pandemic.”

Ono’s close friend speaks out

Elliot Mintz, a good friend of the Lennons for over five decades who served for many years as their spokesperson, spoke with The New York Post this week about Ono’s health and her current state of mind.

“She has definitely slowed down, like anyone at that age,” he said. “But she is as sharp as she once was.”

Mintz opened up as well with the outlet about the avant-garde artist’s close relationship with her son, Sean, as well as about her birthday celebration this past February, just before the pandemic began in earnest.

“Sean is her best friend,” Mintz said. “They have dinner two or three times a week, and he occasionally brings his mom out as a guest star in his band. “

The close family friend to the Lennons noted that Sean plans his mom’s birthday celebration every year and that this year was no different.

“She blew out the candles with Sean and she was among the last to leave,” Mintz said. “She was in good spirits. I helped her into her wheelchair and gently helped her into her car.”

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