Stuart Sutcliffe dies

Stuart Sutcliffe, the brilliant young painter who was a bass guitarist with The Beatles in their early period, died on this day of a brain haemorrhage.

Stuart Sutcliffe

He had been suffering from increasingly severe headaches and blackouts since settling in Hamburg with Astrid Kirchherr, his German fiancée. The cause of these remained uncertain, though Sutcliffe believed they were a consequence of overwork.

In February he had collapsed during an art school class, and dropped out of education. The Kirchherr family suspected a brain tumour, and sent him for x-rays, although nothing amiss was found. Two doctors subsequently saw Sutcliffe but they too could find nothing wrong.

By March 1962 the headaches had grown in frequency, escalating at times to violent fits, and Sutcliffe often suffered temporary blindness. His moods were volatile, ranging from calm normality to suicidal mania. Most of the final two weeks of his life were spent in bed.

On 10 April Astrid Kirchherr received a call from her mother while working in her photography studio. She was told that Sutcliffe had collapsed once more and he was to be sent to the hospital.

Kirchherr rushed home to accompany him in the ambulance. Sutcliffe was already unconscious, and died in her arms during the journey to the hospital. The cause of death was listed as cerebral paralysis caused by bleeding in the right ventricle of the brain.

The precise nature of Sutcliffe's health issues has never been determined, and there has been considerable speculation as to the causes. One theory is that a blow to the head during a fight, possibly with John Lennon, led to the haemorrhage.

However, the lengthy deterioration in Sutcliffe's health make cerebral bleeding through injury an unlikely scenario. It is more probable that Sutcliffe died as a result of an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (AVM), both of which are congenital disorders.

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10 responses on “Stuart Sutcliffe dies

  1. Travis

    Poor Stu’, of course, RIP, but poor John, as well. First his mother in a totally random, accidental-but-violent-nonetheless way, then Stu, and then much later, his own violent end. How much tragic death had to surround this once in a generation talent? Especially as he really was such a voice for peaceful, non-violent, harmonious existence.

    I think Stu’ may have helped John’s already preexisting artistic leanings flourish (I mean, he was making the “Daily Howl” and things like that since he was a child and met Stu in art school), just as, sadly, Sutcliffe’s death may have brought out John’s also preexisting feelings of anger, cynicism and bitterness founded in things like his early childhood, Julia’s death, etc. Ha, all us John-o-philes think we’re like his personal shrinks, even 30+ years after his death.

  2. Tracy

    And do not discount the effect of John’s Uncle George dying also. George, who taught John harmonica and read to him as a boy, humorous George who cuddled John and was truly the one constant in his life as a young boy who was truly affectionate and a real father figure/pal to him whilst growing up at Mendips. The shock of coming home from vacation in Scotland and George is just gone, died and buried while John was away with other family. Probably the biggest blow of his life to lose the person who truly was there for him.

  3. Mike Hawkslarge

    John Lennon Killed Stu Sutcliff. Contrary to the story that Stu died of a congenital brain aneurysm that burst, He actually died from a blow delivered to his head when John Lennon kicked him in the head during a heated argument. John had a nasty temper and frequently flew off in violent rages. Stu suffered a subdural hemorrhage from that kick and died months later. CT scans and MRI’s were not available at that time, so they could not see or treat the injury as it unfolded. Because Stu did not die right away no one attributed it to the kick. John Lennon committed manslaughter and got away with it. In the end John got what he deserved. This is the true story you will never hear. A family member of Stu Sutcliff has given this information to select close friends and swears to it’s validity.

    1. Sir Huddleston Fuddleston

      He was also reported to have been kicked in the head by some Teds after a concert (or something) in Liverpool. Or neither could have happened. People have aneurisms all the time. We will never know. But think of Lennon: his mother leaves him, his mother dies, his Uncle George(?) dies, Stu dies, Brian dies. I’m reading The Beatles meet Elvis by Chris Hutchins and he claims that Lennon prophesied (he was reading about the Kennedy and Lincoln death coincidences) that he would die on the ninth of December.

  4. Joseph Brush

    This website is not a court of law, Michael, but your comments would find home in a kangaroo court where hearsay rules the day and character assassination of the dead prevails.
    One comment from you alone–“In the end John got what he deserved”–automatically reveals where your head is at.

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