These Were John Lennon's Final Words Before Being Shot To Death

Just hours before he died, John Lennon gave what would end up being his last interview. After not releasing any music for five years, he was finally back with a new album to promote, so he stopped by a New York City radio station to do just that with DJ Dave Sholin. But the almost 2-hour interview covered topics far more wide-ranging. Perhaps the eeriest thing Lennon said was "We're either going to live or we're going to die. I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried – and I hope that's a long time" (via Far Out Magazine).

For decades, fans have poured over the things he said in that interview, reading between the lines and wondering what might have been. After all, for those who were not with him, these were the last words they knew he'd said, before he was killed by Mark David Chapman outside his home in the Dakota.

However, in the 2023 Apple TV+ documentary series "John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial," a witness to John Lennon's assassination finally speaks on the record about what he heard him say before he died. 

The Dakota's front desk clerk heard John Lennon's last words

Because John Lennon was shot on a New York City street in the early evening, it's not surprising that there were several witnesses present. Besides his wife Yoko, there was a cab driver named Richard Peterson. He appears in the documentary and explains how surreal it was when he saw Mark David Chapman call Lennon's name and pull out a gun: "I'm looking at him through the front window of my cab. I'm looking at him shoot him. This guy just shot John Lennon. I thought they were making a movie, but I didn't see no lights or cameras or anything so I realized, 'Hey, this ain't no movie'" (via The Independent).

Another witness, a woman named Nina, spoke to The New York Times and told them she approached Chapman after he shot Lennon, but he told her to go away.

Jay Hastings was the front desk clerk on duty at the Dakota when the shooting occurred. Lennon managed to stagger up six stairs into the lobby area where he was working. In the documentary, Hastings reveals what happened next: "He runs past me. He goes, 'I'm shot." He had blood coming out of his mouth. He just collapsed on the floor. I half rolled him to his back and took his glasses off, put them on the desk. And Yoko was screaming, 'Get an ambulance, get an ambulance, get an ambulance.'" Lennon was pronounced dead at the hospital.