Yoko Ono’s Heartbreaking Reaction to John Lennon’s Death Has Been Disputed Many Times
In 1980, John Lennon and Yoko Ono returned to the spotlight after taking five years off to raise their son, Sean. John released Double Fantasy, and fans welcomed him back with open arms. Just when fans were welcoming John back, gunman Mark David Chapman shot and killed him outside his apartment on Dec. 8, 1980.
Yoko witnessed the entire thing. She followed John to Roosevelt Hospital, and she was one of the first people to find out doctors couldn’t save his life. That much has been reported accurately. After that, much of the story, including Yoko’s reaction to John’s death, was inaccurately covered by the press for many years. That is until a film revealed the truth.
John Lennon’s last words to Yoko Ono
Shortly before John was killed, a small ordinary moment passed between him and Yoko. As they drove back from the Record Plant that night, John spoke his last words to his wife.
In 2007, Yoko told Desert Island Discs (per Independent), “I said, ‘Shall we go and have dinner before we go home?’ and John said, ‘No, let’s go home because I want to see Sean before he goes to sleep.'”
To Yoko’s knowledge, John didn’t speak another word to her. However, some accounts say John yelled, “I’m shot!” Everything turned to chaos after the shooting, so all words were likely lost on Yoko.
She was more concerned with getting John to a hospital. But that’s where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Yoko Ono’s heartbreaking reaction to John Lennon’s death has been disputed
According to Dr. Stephan G. Lynn, the Head of the Emergency Department at Roosevelt Hospital, Yoko had a heartbreaking reaction to the news of her husband’s death.
Lynn said (per Society of Rock), “When I told her, she said: ‘You’re lying; it can’t be true. He’s not dead. I don’t believe you.’ She threw herself down on the floor and began banging her head on the ground. I was afraid we’d have a second patient. But after two minutes, she accepted it and asked me to delay announcing the news to the media for 20 minutes because her son Sean was home watching the news, and she wanted to tell him first.”
However, Jeremy Profe, writer and director of The Lennon Report, told Billboard this account is false. During pre-production, Profe realized he had to do a massive rewrite after he and his team learned that much of that night was inaccurately covered by the press.
Barbara Kammerer, one of the nurses in the ER that night, told Billboard, “They showed us the script basically that had no relevance to anything that occurred that night. And as we were speaking with them and bringing up certain things, they were looking at us as if we truly did not know what we were talking about.”
One of the biggest pieces of information Profe learned was wrong was Yoko’s reaction to John’s death. Kammerer and another nurse on duty that night, Deatra Sarto, revealed it never happened. Another bombshell: Lynn wasn’t the one who massaged John’s heart that night either. That job landed on Dr. David Halleran.
Lynn didn’t even spend 60 seconds with Yoko as she worried for John
Sarto said that Lynn didn’t even spend a full 60 seconds with a distraught Yoko, yet he took all the credit for trying to save John.
“The floor, to begin with, wasn’t cement,” Sarto continued to explain Lynn’s comments about Yoko banging her head on the floor. “And Stephan (Lynn) was not in the room long enough to observe anything at all. We walked into together and she said, ‘Please tell me he’s OK.’ And Stephan said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that.’ And he turned around and walked out. The doctor, who’s taking credit for everything never even spent 60 seconds with her. He just announced he was dead and he left the room.”
Halleran told Fox News that Lynn asked him if he wanted Lynn to brief the media for him. “I basically didn’t,” Halleran said. “I wanted crawl under a rock.”
Since Halleran didn’t want to talk to the media that night, the press only interacted with Lynn that night. So it was natural for them to assume Lynn had worked on John personally. However, Lynn told Fox that he personally held the knife to open John’s chest. When Fox told him four people said it was Halleran, he began to backtrack.
“It has been 35 years since then,” Lynn said. “I don’t remember exactly who held the knife. I certainly thought that it was my hand on the knife. It may very well have been Dr. Halleran’s and perhaps, it was David that opened the chest, but I’m not certain.”
Yoko could only think of Sean through the chaos
Fox reached out to Yoko about Lynn’s statements. She responded that all she could think about was her son Sean after hearing John was dead.
“I did not bang my head on anything, let alone a concrete floor,” she said. “This is the first time I hear this story, all the time I had in mind that I had to stay calm and well for Sean’s sake. If I banged my head on anything, I might have gotten a head injury. That would have been very bad for me and my son. I thought I had to stay as strong as I could for him.”
Like most catastrophes, there’s always someone who bends the truth for personal gain. We’re just glad that the truth has finally surfaced and Yoko can live in peace.