Cynthia died at her home in Mallorca, Spain “following a short but brave battle with cancer,” according to a statement on a memorial Web site.
“Her son, Julian Lennon, was at her bedside throughout. The family are thankful for your prayers. Please respect their privacy at this difficult time,” it said.
Cynthia met John at the Liverpool College of Art, where both were students in a calligraphy class in 1960. They dated during his early years with the Beatles, while they were still a struggling band playing clubs in Hamburg, Germany.
The married in 1962, two years before the Beatles became famous, after she became pregnant with son Julian. It was his idea to get married, according to one of her biographies.
They divorced in 1968 after John left her for Yoko Ono, a move that has been widely debated as the beginning of the end of the Fab Four.
Cynthia joined Lennon on the Beatles’ first America tour in 1964, and the two were photographed together, much to manager Brian Epstein’s chagrin. He wanted to keep the marriage secret to keep from upsetting fans.
During their time together, Lennon confessed he’d had numerous affairs and had established a relationship with Ono. When she became pregnant in 1968, he sued for divorce. She gave birth to son Sean Lennon.
The divorce was bitter. Cynthia won full custody of Julian but settled for only a fraction of Lennon’s net worth in the final decree.
Lennon separated from Ono for an 18-month period beginning in 1973 and took up with his young assistant May Pang, who tried to get Lennon to spend more time with Julian. Pang became life-long friends with Cynthia after Lennon went back to Ono.
Cynthia went through several marriages after divorcing Lennon and eventually settled in Mallorca.
Upon her death, Julian posted a touching video in memory of his mom. Check it out below, let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest music news.