LOS ANGELES – Charles Manson, one of the most notorious criminals of the 20th century in the United States, died on Sunday of natural causes at a hospital in California, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation said in a statement.
Manson shocked the US in August 1969 when he and his followers, who came to be known as the “Manson Family,” murdered seven people, including actor Sharon Tate, wife of director Roman Polanski, who was pregnant with the couple’s son at the time.
Manson and his followers wrote messages on the walls in the victims’ blood and claimed to have been inspired by instructions that they had supposedly heard in the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”
Manson claimed to believe in an impending race war, and committed the act in order to hasten the conflict.
The CDCR statement said that the killer, who was convicted in 1971, died at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, California.
He was initially sentenced to death, but in 1972 his pending execution was annulled and his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after the Supreme Court of California ruled that the capital punishment was unconstitutional.
Manson was eligible for parole after seven years in prison, but was repeatedly denied release as authorities considered he still posed a threat.