Convicted murderer and cult leader Charles Manson, one of the most notorious criminals of the 20th century, has died in California after more than 46 years in prison, state officials say. He was 83 years old.
Manson passed died of natural causes at 8:13 p.m. PT on Sunday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He died while receiving treatment at a hospital in Bakersfield, about 56 miles (90 kilometers) southeast of the California State Prison in Corcoran.
Manson was rushed to hospital on November 12, but specific details about his condition were not released. Entertainment news website TMZ, citing unidentified sources, had previously reported that Manson was looking ashen and his health was steadily deteriorating over the past week.
The notorious criminal was also taken to hospital in early January, when he was said to be “seriously ill.” It was reported at the time that Manson had suffered severe intestinal bleeding but was too weak to undergo surgery. It is known whether this played a role in his cause of death.
Manson was convicted in 1971 for his involvement in the 1969 murders of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate and her unborn baby. The murders were carried out by his followers – the so-called “Manson Family” – which consisted of mostly runaways and outcasts.
Manson had preached on the streets of San Francisco and claimed to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, allowing him to attract a devoted group of followers who dedicated their lives to him. “When I stand on the mountain and say ‘do it,’ it gets done,” he once said about his followers.
Prosecutors said Manson, who had a swastika tattooed on his forehead, instructed his followers to kill some of the rich and famous in Los Angeles in an attempt to start a race war. Their crimes shocked the world and Manson’s name would eventually become synonymous with evil.
In the end, Manson never took responsibility or expressed regret for his crimes. “I never broke nobody’s will. I never told anybody to do anything other than what they wanted to do,” Manson once said in an interview.
Manson was initially sentenced to death but it was reduced to life in prison when California’s Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in the early 1970s. He became eligible for parole after just 7 years and his requests had been repeatedly denied. His next parole hearing had been set for 2027.
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