Cynthia Lennon, the former wife of Beatle John Lennon, died on Wednesday at her home in Mallorca, Spain, a representative for her son confirmed. She was 75.
She died after a "short but brave battle with cancer" and her son, Julian Lennon, was at her bedside, according to a statement from the family. Julian also sent out a tweet announcing his mother's death.
Cynthia was married to the Beatles legend from 1962 until 1968. John was shot to death in 1980 at the age of 40.
Her impact on the Beatles was always covert, if not intentionally marginalized. When she became pregnant with Julian, thus threatening the band’s young-and-single image, manager Brian Epstein helped arrange their wedding on the condition that it be kept quiet even though the marriage was an open secret in the British music press.
In her book “A Twist of Lennon” Cynthia described her life with John as an “undercover existence,” and according to her memoirs, she spent her wedding night without John while the Beatles played a concert in Chester.
However, she does show up as a presence in several Beatles songs. Both “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Good Night” were written about the young Julian while John and Cynthia were married. Paul McCartney’s “Hey Jude” was written as a comforting ballad for Julian during his parents’ separation.
Cynthia was born in Blackpool, England, and was the youngest of three children of Charles and Lillian Powell. She grew up in England and attended the Liverpool College of Art, where she met John in 1957.
After Cynthia and John divorced in 1968, John married Yoko Ono and had another son, Sean Lennon. After her divorce from John, Cynthia said her income was “never stable,” according to People. In her book, “John,” she talked about being mistreated by her ex-husband during their marriage.
Author Hunter Davies, who wrote the only authorized Beatles biography, described Cynthia as a “lovely woman” who was ill-treated by her famous husband, according to the Associated Press. He said that unlike John, she was “quiet and reserved and calm” and “not a hippy at all.”
In 1991, Cynthia auctioned off some of John's writing, including memorabilia he had collected over the years.
"I've enjoyed these things for 30 years," Cynthia told People at the time. "But it's time for a change."
The Los Angeles Times interviewed Cynthia in 1988, when she described how she and John were drawn to each other after suffering the loss of parents at a young age. Throughout her six-year marriage to John she was an “eternal optimist,” according to the interview.
The interview came around the time “Imagine,” a documentary about John, was released.
“I’d like this to be a culmination of sorts – of the good, the bad and the brilliant side of John Lennon, and not to have anything smoothed over,” she said.