What was Marvin Gaye’s cause of death?

4 mins read


MARVIN Gaye was an international superstar until his life was cut short in 1984.

But how did the singer die? Here’s everything you need to know about his tragic death…

Marvin Gaye was shot dead when he was 44
Rex Features

When and how did Marvin Gaye die?

Marvin Gaye, 44, died on April 1, 1984, after being shot by his father.

At 12:38p.m while Marvin was in his bedroom, his father, Marvin Gay Sr., shot him in the heart and then in his left shoulder.

The first shot proved to be fatal and Marvin was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m. after his body arrived at California Hospital Medical Center, one day short of his 45th birthday.

The singer was killed on April 1, 1984
AP:Associated Press

Why did his father shoot him?

There have been different speculations as to the actual reason of the argument that prompted the shooting on April 1, 1984.

On the morning of the shooting Marvin Sr. was upset over an insurance policy he had misplaced. He’d been searching for it since the day before and eventually placed the blame on his wife Alberta.

She was with Marvin Jr, talking in his bedroom, when Marvin Sr. began shouting at her from downstairs.

Junior came out and started yelling back.

His dad rushed upstairs and into Junior’s room where Junior told his dad that he’d “had enough of his crap and was gonna mess him up,” and it’s reported that he immediately knocked him down and began kicking him.

The mum broke up their fight but it wasn’t over as his dad went and got the gun that Junior had given him for a present just a few months earlier and shot him in the chest.

His dad Marvin Gaye Sr. was the one who shot him
AP:Associated Press

Did Marvin’s father go to jail?

Initially charged with first-degree murder, Marvin Gay Sr.’s charges dropped to voluntary manslaughter following a diagnosis of a brain tumour.

His son’s autopsy revealed the singer had drugs in his system.

Marvin Sr. was later sentenced to a suspended six-year sentence and probation.

He died at a nursing home in 1998.


During the sentencing hearing, Marvin Sr. 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.”

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