Continued from Part 1
By October 1961, Stuart Sutcliffe had left The Beatles, and was suffering from blinding headaches and dark mood swings, often coupled with aggressive bouts of unprovoked jealousy towards his fiancée. He was eventually persuaded to see a doctor who diagnosed nothing but a troublesome appendix and advised him to slow down, rest, and quit cigarettes and alcohol. Early in 1962, his health declined further and he began suffering seizures. He was eventually diagnosed as suffering from increased cranial pressure which was temporarily relieved by a treatment of cranial hydrotherapy. Sutcliffe and Kircherr then visited Liverpool in February 1962 where friends noted his alarming weight loss and pale complexion.
During this visit he met Brian Epstein, the new Beatles manager, and discussed a future role as an artistic director and designer for the band. Predictably, Epstein was drawn to Sutcliffe's looks and later wrote to him in Hamburg that he "didn't know anyone as lovely as you existed in Liverpool". (Norman, Lennon - The Life, p. 262)
Upon his return to Hamburg, Sutcliffe’s seizures and mood swings escalated. He wrote home that “[his] head was compressed, and filled with such unbelievable pain". (Norman, Lennon - The Life, p. 262) On April 10, 1962 he suffered an hour-long seizure at his home and fell into a coma. Despite being rushed to hospital by ambulance, Sutcliffe died during the journey, while resting in his fiancées arms. The next day, unaware of his death, The Beatles, minus George Harrison, flew out to Hamburg from Manchester to begin yet another engagement. They were greeted by a distraught Kircherr in the hall upon arrival, and her news sent Lennon into aggressive hysterics. Lennon was later criticised by the Sutcliffe family, however, for his lack of emotion over his friend’s death.
The show of emotion in Hamburg airport had evaporated – or been carefully withdrawn – by the time his friend's mother arrived (from the same flight as Harrison and Epstein) the following day. Lennon, in his defence, was a mere 21, and those young years had already seen their fair share of trauma. Already aware that his father and mother had abandoned him, death had been a frequent caller to his door what with losing his surrogate father (Uncle George) at 15, his mother at 17, and now his best friend at 21. It's little wonder that he developed an aggressive defence mechanism for bottling and hiding his emotions. There are enough clues throughout his life, however, to suggest that he was always haunted by the death of his best friend and perhaps his frequent cruel treatment of him in public. Kircherr felt his behaviour towards Sutcliffe was another of his defence mechanisms; “I’m thinking when he treated him badly, it was because he was afraid anyone might see how much he loved him”. (Norman, Lennon – The Life, p. 214)