Charles Manson, the murderer and cult leader, has died in a hospital in California.
A statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said: “Inmate Charles Manson, 83, died of natural causes at 8:13 p.m. on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at a Kern County hospital.”
Debra Tate, the sister of one of the Manson family’s victims, the actress Sharon Tate, told NBC News that authorities called her about 8:30 p.m. to inform her that Manson was dead.
“One could say I’ve forgiven them, which is quite different then forgetting what they are capable of,” Tate said. “It is for this reason I fight so hard to make sure that each of these individuals stays in prison until the end of their natural days.”
Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, said Sunday night: “Today, Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death.”
For many Americans, Manson became the living embodiment of evil, and he was once dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine “The Most Dangerous Man Alive.”
Even behind bars, he exerted an almost magnetic influence over other members of the “Manson Family,” and the madness and depravity of his crimes continued to intrigue generations of people who were born long after “Helter Skelter” became part of the vernacular.
Manson was sentenced to death in 1971 for directing the brutal murders of Tate and six other people, but he was spared two years later and was sentenced to life behind bars when California did away with the death penalty.
Later, Manson survived being severely burned by another inmate who poured paint thinner on him and set him ablaze. But in the end, the incorrigible inmate who repeatedly ran afoul prison officials for drugs and other offenses.
“Why did the Manson legend live on? It’s because Manson lived on,” pop culture expert Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University, told NBC News before Manson died.
Manson just fascinated Americans, many of whom first laid eyes on him when he was on trial and had carved an X into his forehead, which that he later turned into a swastika, Thompson said.
“With those eyes and that tattoo, Manson just seemed to be the dictionary definition of crazy,” he said. “That photo of Manson really captured so much of the dark side of the American id.”
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