Sir Paul McCartney has admitted that he would have struggled with “heartache” if he had not reconnected with John Lennon shortly before his death.

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The 78-year-old Beatles star reflected on his friend and bandmate’s passing while speaking to Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son Sean for BBC Radio 2’s “John Lennon at 80” event.

McCartney said, “I always say to people, one of the great things for me was that after all The Beatles rubbish and all the arguing and the business, you know, business differences really… that even after all of that, I’m so happy that I got it back together with your dad.”

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He continued: “It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn’t have reunited. It was so lovely too that we did and it really gives me sort of strength to know that.”

Reflecting on The Beatles’ split in 1970, the music icon added: “You know what I think it was, I think it was the fact that The Beatles were breaking up, which was a very difficult time for us, it was like a divorce, you know. So it’s very difficult to collect your thoughts and to just be jolly.”

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“John Lennon at 80” will take place at 9 p.m. on Oct. 3 and 4 on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.