Lucy Vodden, who inspired Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, dies

6.54pm, Thursday 1 October 2009 (4 years ago)

Lucy Vodden, who helped inspire The Beatles’ song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, has died at the age of 46.

Vodden was a childhood friend of John Lennon‘s four-year-old son Julian. Her maiden name was Lucy O’Donnell.

One day in 1967, Julian brought home a drawing he had made at nursery school, of a girl surrounded by stars. When asked what it depicted, he replied: “It’s Lucy, in the sky, with diamonds.”

Julian Lennon's painting of Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Although Lennon always insisted that Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was not about LSD, it was widely believed to have been inspired by the hallucinogenic drug.

I had no idea it spelt LSD. This is the truth: my son came home with a drawing and showed me this strange-looking woman flying around. I said, ‘What is it?’ and he said, ‘It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds,’ and I thought, ‘That’s beautiful.’ I immediately wrote a song about it.
John Lennon

For five years Vodden suffered from lupus, an autoimmune disease which causes the body to attack its own cells.

In April 2009 Julian Lennon heard she was suffering from the disease, and sent a huge bouquet of flowers and a card to her. He followed it up with garden centre gift vouchers, after hearing that she found solace in her plants.

“I’ve been able to help out a bit,” Lennon said. “I was so upset to hear what had happened.”

Vodden died on Tuesday 22 September 2009. It was announced the following Monday by the St Thomas Lupus Trust, which had been supporting Mrs Vodden and her husband Ross during her illness.

Julian and Cynthia are shocked and saddened by the loss of Lucy, and their thoughts are with her husband and family today and always. Shine on Lucy…
Julian Lennon

The trust later released an official statement:

Lucy Vodden loses brave battle with lupus

Ross Vodden and the O’Donnell family regretfully have to announce the sad passing of their beloved Lucy aged 46, after an incredibly brave fight against lupus.

Lucy was the childhood friend of Julian Lennon and the inspiration for the Beatles’ 1967 psychedelic classic “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

Julian and Lucy were linked together by something that happened more than 40 years ago when Julian brought home a drawing from school and told his father, “That’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”

Julian and Cynthia (Lennon) are shocked and saddened by the loss of Lucy and their thoughts are with her husband and family today and always.

Angie Davidson, Campaign Director of the St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust said, “Everyone at the Louise Coote Lupus Unit was dreadfully shocked by the death of Lucy, she was a great supporter of ours and a real fighter, it’s so sad that she has finally lost the battle she fought so bravely for so long”.

She added “I am sure that many people will wish to pass on their support to Lucy’s family and they can do so via the St. Thomas Lupus Trust by e-mailing fundraising@lupus.org.uk.”

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