- Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Charles Manson, the notorious cult leader who led followers to murder several people in the 1960s, is dead, the California Department of Corrections said late Sunday. The 83-year-old died of “natural causes,” according to a CDCR news release.
TMZ reported Wednesday that Manson’s health had been deteriorating steadily. He was transported with five uniformed cops to a hospital in Bakersfield, California, three days earlier, the site said.
The convicted mass murderer was imprisoned at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, California, and was known as the leader of what later became known as the Manson Family cult. Despite the conviction, Manson himself never committed the murders.
Born in 1934, he was infamously connected to the violent murder of actress Sharon Tate and others in Hollywood. The Family, as they became known, carried out at least 35 murders, most of which never resulted in convictions.
The first murders occurred in Aug. 1969, at a Los Angeles home rented by Roman Polanski. Mason reportedly directed four followers -- Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian -- to brutally murder four victims in the house. Tate, Polanski’s pregnant wife, was among them, as were hairstylist Jay Sebring, coffee bean heiress Abigail Folger and her partner, writer Wojciech Frykowski. Steven Parent, 18, was also killed outside of the home. Polanski was shooting a movie in London.
The Family, made up of about 100 followers, lived unconventionally and routinely used hallucinogenic drugs, such as magic mushrooms and LSD.
In January, Manson was hospitalized with a reported serious illness. According to TMZ, he had severe intestinal bleeding. He was sent back to Corocoran after doctors said he was too weak for doctors to repair a lesion.