Harrison accepted he was dying

About Olivia
Photo Gallery
Site Information

BBC News; November 28, 2002


The widow of former Beatle George Harrison has spoken about the death of her husband and how he had accepted the fact he was dying of cancer. She also told how Harrison saved her life when an intruder broke into their home and began attacking them. Olivia Harrison, who was married to George for 23 years, was speaking ahead of a tribute concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on Friday to mark the first anniversary of his death. Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Ravi Shankar are among a host of names performing at the concert which will raise money for the Material World Charitable Foundation. In a televised interview Olivia said George had never felt in control of the cancer which finally killed him at the age of 58. "He gave his life to God a long time ago. He wasn't trying to hang on to anything. He was fine with it," she told NBC's Katie Couric. "Sure, nobody likes to be ill and nobody likes to be uncomfortable. But he went with what was happening."


'Good ending'
She said the former Beatles guitarist had spent years searching for inner peace and had aspired to "a higher kind of consciousness, a higher life". "George dedicated a lot of his life to obtain a good ending, and I don't have any doubt that he was successful." Olivia also relived the moment paranoid schizophrenic Michael Abram broke into their Henley-on-Thames mansion and attacked them. George was stabbed at least 10 times during the ensuing struggle as he tried to protect his wife in December 1999. She has been praised for fending off Abram with a fire poker and an antique lamp but she said it was her husband who gave her the strength to fight back and had been "coaching" her through the whole ordeal.


"George was very brave, and people don't know that, because he had already been injured and he had to jump up and bring him down to stop him from attacking me. He saved my life, too." Olivia also dismissed claims that her husband was a recluse. "People would say, 'Oh, he's a recluse'. "He said: 'I just don't go where all the press is. People say I don't go out. I just don't go where they are'." The concert at the Royal Albert Hall will feature a mixture of Harrison's own music and a selection of his favorite songs. Stars of the comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus have also agreed to take part.