Charles Manson, 83, has died

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He was the author of a gruesome story that has fascinated the American public for decades. Charles Manson, musician, antisemite, cult leader, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Kern County, California on Sunday, November 19th, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was hospitalized back in January due to intestinal bleeding, but was deemed too weak to be operated on.

Manson gained national attention and infinite fame in the 1960’s, after becoming the ringleader of the Manson Family, a satanic, anti-Semitic cult that was responsible for the murders of actress Sharon Tate and friends, as well as  successful California grocers Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

The word “pig” was infamously scrawled in blood across the door of the Tate home, with the phrases “Death to Pigs” and “Helter Skelter” written in blood at the LaBianca home. Although the gory details of the murders sickened the nation, Manson still retained support among his “family”, who kept vigils and chanted in support of their leader outside the courthouse during his trial in 1970.

© Bettmann/CORBIS
Charles Manson at the murder trial of actress Sharon Tate and grocers Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, June 19, 1970

In 1971, Manson and two other cult members responsible for the Tate killings were found guilty of seven counts of murder each. The defendants were originally set for the death penalty, but as it was temporarily illegal in California at the time, their sentences were changed to life in prison.

Manson, the inspiration for much of American pop culture in the following decades, spent the rest of his life behind bars, where he continued writing songs and playing guitar in hopes of making it as a singer-songwriter, despite his having refusing parole a dozen times.

Often asked if he ever regretted the evil he had inflicted (like in an infamous interview with Charlie Rose in 1986), Manson habitually responded that he felt no remorse.

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