April 1, 1984

April1On this day in 1984, Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father, a preacher, Marvin Gaye Sr.

The shooting took place at the home Gaye had purchased for his parents in the West Adams district of L.A. He had been residing there after what would become his final tour ended. He had fallen so hard into a drug habit that it cost him literally everything he owned.

Gaye was always looking for acceptance and approval from his extremely controlling father since childhood, and things only got worse when Gaye’s career picked up, since his father did not think the music business was any business that his family should be involved in.

Marvin Gaye Sr. was an alcoholic cross-dresser who beat his children until they learned to be scared of him. On the final day of Gaye Jr.’s life, he would stand up to his father, while intervening in an argument between his mother and father. He finally stroke his father back, hitting him in the upper torso and kicking him once while on the floor (according to Gaye’s mother, Alberta Gaye who was a witness).

Marvin Gay Sr. got up off the floor quietly and retrieved his gun from under the pillow in his bedroom and then shot his son twice, once in the shoulder and once in the chest, killing him. Rumour often heard claims that Gaye Jr. was well aware of the consequences of psychically touching his father, as Gaye himself always reminded his children, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out.”

Since his drug abuse, lack of self-esteem and lack of love in his life was ultimately devouring him, friends and family close to Gaye think it is possible he did this knowing exactly what would happen to him, a form of suicide in their minds. Had Marvin Gaye lived, he would have turned 45 the following day, April 2.

His father pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received a five year suspended sentence. His son remains one of the most celebrated soul artists in the world.

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