Marvin Gaye was fatally shot by his father, Marvin Gay Sr., on April 1, 1984, at their house in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, California. Gaye was shot twice following an altercation with his father after he intervened in an argument between his parents. He was shot four months later with the same gun he bought for his father as a Christmas gift on December 25, 1983.
Soul and Motown legend Marvin Gaye has firmly earned his spot in the hall of fame among the best artists of all time.
Having worked with stars such as Diana Ross, the two-time Grammy Award winner inspired a generation with iconic tunes such as I Heard It Through The Grapevine.
However, his inspiring journey was tragically cut short in 1984 at the age of just 44 years old. On April 1, 1984, the world was sent into shock at the news that Marvin had tragically died. Just one day before his 45th birthday, the singer was fatally shot by his own father.
The legendary musician was born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr in 1939 to a church minister father and a domestic worker mother. The second of four kids between his parents, Gaye was a church singer starting from around four.
Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter and producer. He was one of the main singers that created the Motown sound of the 1960s, first as an session performer and later as a solo artist. His Motown hits included ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’ and ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’, and duets with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross and Tammi Terrell
In the 1970s, he recorded the albums What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On, becoming one of the first artists from Motown (along with Stevie Wonder) to break away from the company on his own merit. After a period in Europe as a tax exile in the early 1980s, he made a successful comeback with the 1982 Grammy Award-winning hit ‘Sexual Healing’ and its album Midnight Love.
Marvin Gaye death: What happened?
Marvin Gaye was fatally shot by his father, Marvin Gay Sr, on April 1, 1984, at their home in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, California.The singer was shot twice, following an argument with his father after he intervened in an altercation between his parents. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the California Hospital Medical Center. His death inspired many musical tributes over the years. He was given a burial plot at Forest Lawn Cemetery, and was later cremated and his ashes spread around the Pacific Ocean.
Who was Marvin Gay, Sr?
Marvin Gaye’s father was an American Pentecostal minister. He married his wife, Alberta Cooper, in 1935. Alberta already had a son named Michael, but after saying he couldn’t raise another man’s son, Gay sent Michael to live with his sister-in-law.They had several children: daughter Jeanne, Marvin Jr, son Frankie and daughter Zeola.
Gay also fathered a son named Antwaun Carey, with another woman following one of his extramarital affairs. Gay was described as a strict father to his four children. According to his kids, Gay would make them observe an extended Sabbath, every Saturday. He was against the Christian tradition of attending church on Sundays.
Gay also would question his kids on Biblical passages, and would beat them if they answered wrong. Marvin reportedly suffered the worst of his punishments. Jeanne said that from the age of seven and into his teenage years, Marvin’s life was full of “brutal whippings”. Marvin later said that “living with Father was like living with a king, an all-cruel, changeable, cruel and all-powerful king”.
Why did Marvin Gaye’s father shoot him?
In the days just before his death, Marvin Gaye’s parents had arguments over a misplaced insurance policy letter. The day before his death, arguments had spread to Gaye’s bedroom. Angered by his father shouting at his mother, Gaye told Marvin Sr to leave her alone.
At around 12.30pm, on April 1, 1984, Marvin Sr shouted at his wife about the document. Marvin, dressed in bathrobe, shouted back downstairs, telling his father if he had something to say, he should do it in person. According to Alberta, when Marvin Sr refused, Gaye warned him not to come to his room. However, his father charged upstairs to the bedroom to shout at Alberta, causing Gaye to jump out of his bed.
When ordering him to leave did not work, Gaye is said to have shoved his father out of the room, and began to kick and punch him. Alberta later told Ritz: “Marvin hit him. I shouted for him to stop, but he paid no attention to me. He gave my husband some hard kicks.”Minutes after being separated, Marvin Sr entered his bedroom, and returned with a .38 pistol his son had bought him, pointed the gun at Gaye, and shot him directly in the heart.”I was standing about eight feet away from Marvin, when my husband came to the door of the bedroom with his pistol,” said Alberta.
“My husband didn’t say anything, he just pointed the gun at Marvin. I screamed but it was very quick. He, my husband, shot – and Marvin screamed. I tried to run. Marvin slid down to the floor after the first shot.”
What happened to Marvin Gaye’s father?
Marvin Sr was quoted as saying at the time: “I didn’t mean to do it.”He pleaded no contest to a voluntary manslaughter charge on September 20, 1984. On November 2, 1984, Judge Gordon Ringer sentenced him to a six-year suspended sentence and five years of probation.
He tearfully told the court: “If I could bring him back, I would. I was afraid of him. I thought I was going to get hurt. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m really sorry for everything that happened. I loved him. I wish he could step through this door right now. I’m paying the price now.”Health issues forced him to move to a nursing home. He died of pneumonia on October 10, 1998, nine days after his 84th birthday.
Marvin Gaye’s legacy
The music world was left shaken by news of Marvin’s tragic death in 1984.
His funeral was held on April 5, 1984, and was attended by his family as well as a star-studded guest-list of musicians including Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.
The singer’s memorial was held in Glendale, California and reportedly saw over 10,000 mourn the star’s death.
Now 36 years since his death, Marvin’s music remains the cornerstone of soul as well as countless other inspired genres.
He has since posthumously received a number of awards as well as a Hollywood Walk Of Fame star.
Just last year, his contribution to music was honoured with a United States Postal Service stamp that depicted a portrait of the late singer.
Marvin Gaye was a known musician who won two Grammy award. He hard a tough life before he became a celebrity. He was once declared bankrupt, but luck fell on him, and one of his music became a hit.