NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) — John Lennon's wife, son, former Beatles band-mates and fans paid tribute to one of the world's most revered singer-songwriters on Tuesday, 40 years to the day after his assassination in New York.

The co-founder of the group from Liverpool, England, had just celebrated his 40th birthday on Oct. 9, 1980 and would have turned 80 this year.

Mark David Chapman, a borderline psychotic from Hawaii, shot Lennon four times at close range on Dec. 8, 1980 for what he called "self-glory." The musician was returning home to the Dakota Apartments by Central Park with his wife, Yoko Ono. Lennon died on the way to hospital.

Paul McCartney, Lennon's songwriting partner, wrote in a tweet on Tuesday that it was "A sad sad day, but remembering my friend John with the great joy he brought to the world."

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Ringo Starr, the other surviving Beatle, said: "I'm asking Every music radio station in the world sometime today play Strawberry Fields Forever. Peace and love."

The Beatles released Lennon's composition "Strawberry Fields Forever" in 1966. At a Central Park section named after the hit song and landscaped by Ono in his honor, fans gathered on Tuesday to lay flowers and photos.

Ono called for peace and gun law reform.

"The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience," she said in a tweet. "After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him. 'Imagine all the people living life in peace,'" she added, quoting a line from Lennon's song "Imagine."

Ono also tweeted the photograph she took of Lennon's blood-splattered eyeglasses, with the message: "Over 1,436,000 people have been killed by guns in the U.S.A. since John Lennon was shot and killed on Dec. 8, 1980."

Julian, Lennon's son with his first wife Cynthia, posted a photo of his dad with the words "As Time Goes By," which his half-brother Sean Ono Lennon hearted.

(Writing by Richard Chang, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)