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Old Nov 30, 2001, 08:29 AM   #18
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Default Re: News Coverage of George\'s Death

Friday November 30 11:43 AM ET
Era Ends with Death of 'Quiet Beatle' Harrison

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - ``Quiet Beatle'' George Harrison, a contemplative musician who brought a spiritual touch to the world's most famous pop group, has died of cancer at the age of 58.

For millions of grieving fans it was the end of an era. Tragedy had hit the Fab Four again: and now there were only two.

``He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is really just my baby brother,'' said fellow Beatle Paul McCartney outside his London home.

The soft-spoken guitarist Harrison died in Los Angeles, finally overpowered by the disease that consumed his final years. His wife Olivia and son Dhani were at his side when he died on Thursday.

``He died with one thought in mind -- love one another,'' said long-time family friend Gavin de Becker on Friday.

McCartney, whose wife Linda died of cancer, paid tribute to Harrison's bravery as death approached. The only other surviving Beatle, Ringo Starr, mourned a ``best friend.''

``We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter,'' the Beatles' drummer said.

Yoko Ono, whose husband John Lennon was gunned down outside their New York apartment in 1980, said Harrison had woven magic.

Outside the Abbey Road studio where the Beatles recorded most of their very many hits, tearful fans paid tribute to a lost icon and a lost age. They scribbled messages on the wall and laid flowers in tribute, blind to the rain around them.

``He'll be on my mind today. I'm going home. I'll light a candle, say a little prayer,'' said American Jade Funk.

``Goodbye George, God Bless,'' said fellow fan Geraldine Scott.

In New York, autumn leaves tumbled as mourners gathered at Strawberry Fields, the Central Park memorial to Lennon.

An album of their 27 number one hit singles topped music charts around the world last year, 30 years after the break-up of the group that shaped the 1960s and revolutionized music.


Liverpool, the northern English birthplace of the Beatles, put official flags at half mast. A book of condolence was opened for the guitarist who wrote ``All Things Must Pass.''

``There is a hollow feeling over the whole city that will take a long time to go away. It feels like part of the city is missing,'' said Stephen Bailey, who runs the Beatles memorabilia shop in Liverpool. McCartney said he had last seen Harrison, a life-long smoker, a few weeks ago: ``He was obviously very unwell but he was cracking jokes like he always was and he'll be sorely missed. He was a beautiful man.''

Ono said Harrison had brought magic to all who knew him.

``George has given so much in his lifetime and continues to do so even after his passing, with his music, his wit and his wisdom,'' she said.

``My deep love and concern goes to Olivia and Dhani. The three of them were the closest, most loving family you can imagine.''

Harrison, whose many compositions included ``While My Guitar Gently Weeps,'' first disclosed in 1998 that he had been treated for throat cancer.

A song-writer and guitarist, Harrison married the sounds of the East with Western pop by introducing the sitar in Lennon's 1965 song ``Norwegian Wood.'' The instrument also features on the reflective Harrison classic ``Within You, Without You.''


Harrison cheated death when stabbed by an intruder at his English country home in 1999. At the time, he said, ``It reminds you that anything can happen.''

On Friday, fans laid flowers outside the house. ``My guitar will gently weep forever. We love you man,'' read one tribute.

He always shunned the limelight. His image was perfectly summed up in the first Beatles song he wrote, ``Don't Bother Me.''

Like Lennon, he soon grew weary of Beatlemania as the group rushed from concert to concert in stretch limousines, dogged at every turn by screaming, hysterical girls.

Harrison was just 27 when the band split in 1970.

The youngest member of the world's most famous pop group will be remembered for his devotion to Oriental mysticism. It was he who persuaded fellow Beatles to fly to India and sit at the feet of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

A long-time devotee of Hare Krishna, Harrison was always in search of religious meaning in his life.

``When you have had all the experiences, met all the famous people, made some money, toured the world and got all the acclaim you still think -- is that it? Some people might be satisfied with that -- but I wasn't,'' he once said.
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