This week marks the 21st anniversary of George Harrison’s death. George lost his life to cancer on Number 29, 2001. His final days were filled with bittersweet meet up with his former bandmates, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Even though he knew it was his time, he didn’t dwell on the sadness of his incoming demise.
17 days before his death, Harrison invited McCartney and Starr to a hotel room in Manhattan. There they reunited for the very last time and reminisced about their old times. They were also joined by George’s wife Olivia, and his doctor Gil Lederman.
That reunion was after a long time. They had not met for several years. Many years later, Paul revealed lots of stories about the meeting. He recalled, “He was about 10 days away from his death, as I recall. We joked about things – just amusing, nutty stuff. It was good. It was like we were dreaming. He was my little baby brother, almost, because I’d known him that long.”
“We held hands. It’s funny, even at the height of our friendship – as guys – you would never hold hands. It just wasn’t a Liverpool thing. But it was lovely.”
Paul also talked about the gift he received from George on his deathbed. Paul still has it and adores it in his life. With this Ringo Starr also revealed his final words to him. He recalls the final words his friend said to him on his deathbed.
Ringo Starr talked about this in Martin Scorsese’s documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World. Ringo shares that he visited George in Switzerland. George was having difficulty with his health. He had throat cancer in 1998 and was treated for lung cancer and a brain tumor shortly before his death.
Starr remembered he went to see George Harrison shortly before traveling to Boston to see his daughter who was suffering from a brain tumor. Ringo explained, “The last weeks of George’s life, he was in Switzerland, and I went to see him, and he was very ill, you know, he could only lay down. And while he was being ill and I’d come to see him, I was going to Boston, cos my daughter had a brain tumor.”
“And I said, ‘Well, you know, I’ve got to go, I’ve got to go to Boston’ and he was… phew, it’s the last words I heard him say, Actually… and he said, ‘Do you want me to come with you?'”
He lastly added, “Oh, God, So, you know, that’s the incredible side of George…”
Back to the final meeting of the three Beatles. They had their personal time with George. Doctor Lederman said, “There were some tears – but there was more laughter than anything else. It was a spirited affair, not a sombre one. There were lots of laughs and lots of fun. They spent hours reminiscing.”
He finally added, “At the end, after both Paul and Ringo had left, [George] was fine and calm. He was a very happy man. This meeting meant so much to him.”
George was cheerful after meeting with Paul and Ringo. The environment was surrounded by sadness but they were very cheerful till the end. Both Paul and Ringo were sad about the fact but Harrison was very brave and he didn’t bring the mood down. The last moments were filled with sadness and Olivia also revealed that Harrison tried to comfort her. She revealed that he told her, “Olivia, you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine”. She replied, “For me, fine was okay but it was not really good enough. I am fine and I am okay. He walked his road and now I have to walk mine. There’s no way of going around grief. I think it’s better to just go through it.”
When Goerge died, Olivia revealed his final message stating that he was at peace. The statement stated, “He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. He often said, ‘Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.'”