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Remembering John Lennon, 40 Years After He Was Killed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Tuesday marks 40 years since one of the greatest tragedies in the music world: The day that John Lennon was shot and killed.

In Central Park, Strawberry Fields was dedicated to his memory.

His fellow Beatles bandmates took to Twitter to remember Lennon.

"A sad sad day but remembering my friend John with the great joy he brought to the world," McCartney wrote. "I will always be proud and happy to have known and worked with this incredible Scouser!"

"Today 8 December 1980 we all had to say goodbye to John peace and love John," Ringo Starr wrote on Twitter. "I'm asking every radio station in the world sometime today play Strawberry Fields Forever. Peace and love."

"The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience," Yoko Ono wrote. "After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him."

Mayor Bill de Blasio reflected on that painful day during his daily news conference.

"We were all just shocked, obviously, and I think John Lennon for a lot of us was one of the most important cultural figures of our time. He was one of the people that kind of defined the time we grew up in. And it's very hard to lose someone like that. I mean he just always felt like he was there. And, you know, someone I certainly admired in so many ways. I thought he was a voice of truth. Someone who was willing to take risks for what he believed was right.

More: Fans Celebrate John Lennon's 80th Birthday With Central Park Tribute

"You know, at my inauguration we played the song Imagine which is still one of the greatest, I think, examples of a message to us all of how we could build a better world for each other," he added.

Fans of John Lennon came together at Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

"One of the greatest artists, philosophers, humanitarians, and inspirations," one said.

PhotosRemembering John Lennon

Some of those that gathered were also there on that tragic night 40 years ago when the Beatles legend was gunned down outside his apartment at the age of 40.

"Came here at night with a big crowd of people, came here, sang songs and cried. Very sad day, I'll never forget," one person said.

"I was driving along a road and a song came on and just, pow, it just hit me and the tears started flowing and I started crying," said Beatles expert Charles Rosenay.

More: John Lennon's Killer Says He Feels 'More And More Shame' Every Year

Rosenay published a magazine about the band. He says Lennon was one of the most influential musicians of all time, but his death transcended music.

"What we lost that night was not the killing of one rock star," he said. "What we lost was someone who till today would have given us great insight. He spoke the truth, he brought to light obvious things that the world and politicians should have seen."

Even 40 years later, John Lennon's legacy lives on. Fans like Mike Eagen say his music and message of peace are timeless.

"Just a legend taken too soon, and it's just really amazing that we have this place to keep remembering him by," Eagen said.

Lennon still inspires millions a generation after he left us.

The man convicted of killing him, Mark David Chapman, remains behind bars in an upstate New York prison.



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