Cult leader Charles Manson has died aged 83 one week after he was admitted to hospital.
The news was confirmed by Debra Tate, the sister of one of his victims – pregnant actress Sharon Tate, who told TMZ she received a call to say he had died.
Tate then told NBC Los Angeles reporter Robert Kovacik: ‘This could be the end of an era or just the beginning.’
She added to People: ‘I said a prayer for his soul.’
The information was quickly verified by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which said he died from natural causes at 8.13pm on Sunday at a Kern County hospital.
Earlier this week it was reported he was on his death bed in hospital and sources claimed ‘it’s just a matter of time.’
The Los Angeles District Attorney who prosecuted Manson, Vincent Bugliosi, released a statement following his death Sunday night: ‘Manson was an evil, sophisticated con-man with twisted and warped moral values.’
Bugliosi added ‘Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death.’
Manson was rushed to a Bakersfield hospital last week for emergency medical treatment.
Sources told TMZ he looked ‘ashen’, was covered in blankets and was not expected to last much longer.
‘It’s not going to get any better for him,’ they told the news outlet. ‘It’s just a matter of time.’
Manson’s health had been steadily declining for months.
In January, he was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield for severe intestinal bleeding and a sigmoid lesion.
Sources told TMZ that doctors wanted to operate immediately but Manson had refused.
By the time he changed his mind and was ready for the operation, doctors determined he was too weak for surgery, and he was sent back to jail.
A source at the time said: ‘He’s not good. His health is failing.’
The 83-year-old had been behind bars for more than four decades, since 1969, after he ordered members of his cult – which he dubbed ‘the family’ – to go on a murderous two-day rampage.
Three of followers, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle and Leslie Van Houten killed seven people: pregnant actress Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, Steven Parent and Jay Sebring.
He had ordered his family members to slaughter Tate, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, and three of her friends at her home above Beverly Hills.
Stephen Parent was a fifth unfortunate victim that night. He had driven to the property to see if caretaker William Garreston wanted to buy his AM/FM Clock radio, and had stayed on for a beer at the guest house. He was shot multiple times when he wound down the window at the electric gate as he left.
The following night the Family butchered small business owners Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, in their home in Los Angeles.
The murders were carried out in upscale, mostly white neighborhoods of Los Angeles in order to blame the crimes on African Americans, in the hope of sparking what he termed a ‘Helter Skelter’ race war.
Manson was also later convicted of the slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald ‘Shorty’ Shea.
During the trial he was convicted of leading a cult in which disaffected young people living in a commune followed his orders and were ultimately turned into killers.
Manson, Atkins, Krenwinkle and Van Houten were convicted of murder and initially sentenced to death for the killings.
Manson, who was not actually present but ordered the killings, applied for parole in 2012 but was denied release and is not eligible to apply again until 2027.
The cult leader continued his life of crime behind bars after being locked up, with more than 100 infractions during his time in prison, for charges including assault, making voodoo dolls and hiding a hot air balloon order catalog in his cell.