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A Look Back at the Life of George Harrison - 2001-11-30

George Harrison of the Beatles died Thursday at age 58, after a long battle with cancer.

Quiet and introspective - that is how the world is remembering George Harrison, the youngest Beatle. The one who searched for the meaning of life.

Back in 1992, he spelled out what his quest was all about. "The purpose of life is to find out, who am I? Why am I here? And, where am I going? That is what we need answering," he said.

And according to a statement released by his family, Mr. Harrison found that in the end. "Love one another" was said to be his last message before he passed away at the home of a friend in Los Angeles.

In 1998, Mr. Harrison disclosed that he had been treated for throat cancer. Later, there were bouts of radiation therapy, and in March of this year, he had an operation to remove a cancerous growth in his lung. He survived an attack in 1999 by an intruder who broke into his country home west of London and stabbed him several times.

Many describe him as a serious musician with a passion for spiritual answers and a raw sense of humor and wit.

Veteran music journalist Chris Hutchings said there is much the world did not know about George Harrison. "He was the reluctant Beatle," he said. "He never wanted all this fame. He never wanted all this wealth, although it needs to be said that he was also the poorest Beatle. Quite large financial problems, which aren't generally known about. But it is so sad that he had to go at this time of life."

Tributes have been pouring in from around the world. Fellow Beatle Paul McCartney is said to be devastated and shocked. In a statement, he called George Harrison his 'baby brother.'

From the world of politics, British Prime Minister Tony Blair paid his respects when he arrived in Dublin for a meeting. "We grew up with the Beatles, the music, the band and their personalities were the background to our lives," he said. "And, I think people will be very sad at his death. I think it is worth pointing out that he was not just a great musician and artist, but he did an immense amount for charity."

Mr. Harrison died peacefully, surrounded by his wife and son. It is not immediately known if there will be a public funeral for the much-loved musician.

The radio airwaves in Britain Friday were filled with his music, which of course will live on. With his death, there remain two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. John Lennon was shot to death by a deranged fan in 1980.

George Harrison, former Beatle, solo artist, and a man who strove to discover the meaning of life, dead at age 58.