W HEN five gunshots rang out in New York 25 years ago, they ended the life of one of the world's most influential musicians and sent millions of fans into mourning.
John Lennon had been living quietly in the city and had just made his comeback after five years away from the studio.
"John and I were gloriously happy in the first week of December," his widow later recalled. "In our minds, we were a team - old soldiers."
So exactly what happened on December 8, 1980? Here, we chart the final hours of the ex-Beatle and how he was targeted by Mark Chapman...
7.30am As the sun rises over Central Park, 40-year-old John Lennon gets out of bed and slips into his black kimono.
Leaving his wife, Yoko Ono, sleeping beneath the sheets, he creeps into the living room and stares out at the Manhattan skyline.
Yoko finds him lost in thought as sunlight floods into the stark, whitewashed room.
Both are on a high. After five years out of the limelight, their new joint album, Double Fantasy, is riding high in the charts and they are busy recording a follow-up.
"What are we going to do when it's No.1, John?" Yoko asks.
"I'll take you out to dinner," he replies.
"That's a date?"
"That's a date."
Although the album went on to top charts around the world, John was never able to keep his promise...
Today is one of the warmest December days New Yorkers can remember. But John and Yoko don't have time to enjoy it - they have a full day's work ahead, including a photo session and a radio interview.
Meanwhile, 20 blocks across town, at the Sheraton Center Hotel on 7th Avenue, Mark David Chapman is also contemplating his day.
The security guard flew into the city two days ago intending to kill John Lennon. Over the weekend, he'd spent hours outside the Dakota building, where John and Yoko live.
9.00am John and Yoko leave the Dakota and have breakfast at the Cafe La Fortuna, on West 71st Street. John tucks into eggs benedict and follows it with a cappuccino and Gitane cigarette.
John then decides to have a haircut, after which the couple return to their sprawling 34-room apartment and welcome photographer Annie Leibovitz inside. 11.00am She asks John if he'd consider stripping off for the photo, while Yoko remains clothed. The resulting picture makes the frontPhoto shoot for Rolling Stone magazine cover cover of Rolling Stone magazine six weeks later. 1.00pm San Francisco radio producer Dave Sholin arrives to conduct what becomes John's last interview.
During the three-hour session, the musician poignantly says: "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."
5.00pm Sholin offers John and Yoko a lift to the recording studio. Outside the Dakota, the pavement teems with office workers heading for the subway.
Among them is Mark Chapman, 25, determined to kill Lennon, who he sees as a "phoney" - a left-wing activist with a millionaire lifestyle.
Despite the mild weather, Chapman wears thermal underwear, green trousers, a shirt and sweater, and a long green overcoat, complete with a fake fur hat, gloves and a green scarf.
A Charter Arms .38 snub-nosed revolver is concealed in the inside pocket of his coat.
He hands John a copy of Double Fantasy to sign. Wearing a black leather jacket over a blue sweater and red T-shirt, John writes: John Lennon 1980. Handing it back, he looks his killer in the eye and asks: "Here, is that what you want?" before hopping into the car.
John and Yoko, 47, spend four-and-a-half hours working at the Record Factory. John arranges to return at 9am the next day, turning to engineer Jack Douglas and smiling: "See you tomorrow morning, bright and early!"
10.35pm Their limousine takes them up Eighth Avenue to Columbus Circle, continues north along Central Park West and then left into 72nd Street. On the way, John chats excitedly about saying goodnight to his five-year-old son, Sean.
Chapman is still loitering in front of the Dakota, where he's struck up a conversation with doorman Jose Perdomo.
10.48pm The limo stops outside the building's gateway and Yoko climbs out, followed by John carrying a tape recorder and cassettes. John stares at Chapman as he passes by and, as he moves off, the killer springs into action...
Dropping into a combat stance, he pulls out the gun. The first two shots hit John in the back, spinning him around, while another two hit him in the shoulder. A fifth misses. Each bullet passes through the body and slams into a wood and glass windbreak behind him.
As Chapman looks on in silence, Lennon staggers up the five steps into the building's office, mumbling "I'm shot" before falling face-down. Night man Jay Hastings had been reading a magazine but, when John stumbles in, he hits the alarm button under the desk, summoning police.
Yoko rushes to cradle her dying husband and screams for a doctor. Outside, Chapman removes his coat - so police will see he isn't armed - and begins flicking through his worn copy of JD Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye.
Within two minutes, the street is full of sirens. As Chapman is cuffed, two officers hoist the musician on to their shoulders and place him in the back of a squad car. Jay remembers hearing John's bones creak as they pick him up.
As his partner runs red lights heading to St Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, Officer James Moran turns and asks John: "Do you know who you are?" As he slips away, he nods and moans: "Yes." It is the last thing he ever says.
When John is wheeled into the emergency room, he has lost 80 per cent of his blood and has virtually no pulse. 11.15pmAlthough seven medics have desperately tried to revive him, John is finally pronounced dead. The official cause is shock, produced by massive haemorrhaging.
Two days later, as the world mourns the senseless killing, his body is cremated at the Ferncliff Mortuary, in the suburb of Hartsfield.
Eight months later, Chapman, having pleaded guilty to murder, is sentenced to between 20 years and life in jail. Refused parole for the third time in October last year, he is held at Attica State Prison, New York.
Tellingly, prisoner 81A2860 is kept in solitary confinement for his own protection. Even the most hardened criminals in America would relish the chance to kill the man who killed one of music's greatest icons.
MONDAY: LENNON'S 15-MONTH 'LOST WEEKEND'