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July 22, 2014

George Harrison memorial tree killed by beetles

A pine tree planted in a Los Angeles park to honor George Harrison has met its maker. Beetles killed it.

A pine tree planted in a Los Angeles park to honor George Harrison has met its maker.

Beetles killed it.

A moment of silence, please.

Los Angeles councilman Tom LaBonge shared the bad news with the L.A. Times music blog, Pop & Hiss, which correctly filed the information in the “truth is stranger than fiction” department.

LaBonge told the Times that the tree had grown to taller than 10 feet before succumbing to a bark beetle infestation.

The tree and a bronze plaque commemorating Harrison were unveiled on “George Harrison Day” in Griffith Park in 2004. Hundreds of Harrison fans flocked to the park that day, hosted by LaBonge.

“George Harrison was and always will be one of our favorite Angelenos,” the councilman said on that day.

“His performance with the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl was unforgettable. He lived on Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills and wrote a haunting song about it. He married a native Angeleno, Olivia Arias, and they were a devoted team. His legacy as a humanitarian has few equals in the world. And, sadly, he died in Los Angeles. But upon his demise, he became an angel in the City of Angels and we are forever grateful for his contributions to the world."

Billy Preston, who was unable to attend the tree dedication 10 years ago, sent a statement that was read aloud to the crowd.

“How lovely that a mighty tree has been planted in George’s honor and memory. He loved nature and its beauty so,” the message said.

After Harrison's 2001 death in Los Angeles, the pine was planted near Griffith Observatory. LaBonge says several trees at Griffith Park have been killed by the beetles.

The tree was removed last month. LaBonge says it will be replanted in the fall.

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