Hospital Worker Reveals 'Imagine' Was Playing on Muzak When Doctors Called John Lennon's Death

The legendary Beatle's death is the subject of the new Apple TV+ docuseries 'John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial'

<p>Rowland Scherman/Getty</p> John Lennon in 1975.

Rowland Scherman/Getty

John Lennon in 1975.

When John Lennon died following a horrific act of violence, his plea for peace was playing over the hospital speakers.

The former Beatle was fatally shot in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980, and was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital (now called Mount Sinai West) in a desperate attempt to save his life.

In John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial, a three-part Apple TV+ docuseries streaming now, the hospital staffers who worked on him that day spoke out for the first time, detailing the painful sequence of events — and the poignant moment that “Imagine” echoed in the hospital halls.

“When [doctors] called [the time of death], and it was over, and we walked out of that room, the Muzak was playing ‘Imagine,’” emergency room nurse Deartra Soto said in the series.

“That was everybody’s ‘Oh s---’ moment,” added nurse Barbara Kammerer.

<p>Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris</p> John Lennon and Yoko Ono outside of the Dakota.

Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris

John Lennon and Yoko Ono outside of the Dakota.

Related: John Lennon Was 'So Happy' in His Final Days, Says Friend — but Faced Unsettling Premonitions (Exclusive)

Lennon released “Imagine” in 1971 on his album of the same name, with the song famously serving as an anthem in his fight for world peace.

The series also featured an interview with emergency room doctor David Halleran, who recalled the moment he realized the patient for whom he’d been pumping his heart was actually Lennon.

"All of a sudden someone says, ‘Hey, that looks like John Lennon.’ And I say, ‘No it’s not, it can’t be, no,’” he said. “And they started going through his clothes and there’s his wallet. There’s some pictures of him and Sean and Yoko and a white Rolls [Royce] in the background. And it’s like, ‘Oh my God, that is John Lennon.’”

Halleran said that his team worked on Lennon, hoping to find “some flicker of life” for about 45 minutes before calling his death.

Related: New Bio of Beatles Roadie Mal Evans Uncovers Last Known Photo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney Together (Exclusive)

“You could’ve heard a pin drop,” said Kammerer of the moments immediately following the musician’s death. “You still want to do more, but now you know you stop and there’s nothing to say really, unfortunately. It’s just very, very quiet.”

Soto, Kammerer and Halleran are three of several people interviewed in the new docuseries, which is directed by Nick Holt and Rob Coldstream and narrated by Kiefer Sutherland (Executive producers include David Glover, Mark Raphael and Coldstream, plus producers Simon Bunney and Louis Lee Ray).

Others include Dakota doorman Jay Hastings — who speaks to PEOPLE about his memories in this week’s issue — as well as Chapman’s defense lawyer David Suggs and Dr. Naomi Goldstein, the psychiatrist who first assessed Chapman.

The series dives deep on the investigation and conviction of Chapman, as his attorneys and prosecutors debated his mental state. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, and was denied parole for the 12th time in 2022. He has since said that he killed Lennon for fame, and called his actions “selfish.”

For more on John Lennon, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere now.

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