Cult leader and convicted mass murderer Charles Manson has died at the age of 83.
According to a press release issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Manson was pronounced dead at 8:13 p.m. local time on Sunday.
Manson was previously hospitalized in January for severe intestinal bleeding. Doctors deemed him too weak for the necessary surgery and sent him back to prison. Earlier this week, Manson was again hospitalized and listed in dire condition.
In 1971, the notorious leader of the Manson Family Cult was found guilty of orchestrating the murders of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski. Manson sought to incite a race war he dubbed, “Helter Skelter”, taken from The Beatles song of the same name. He was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment when California discontinued the state’s death penalty statute.
Prior to his cult’s murderous rampage, Manson was an aspiring singer-songwriter in Los Angeles who counted Dennis Wilson, drummer and founder of The Beach Boys, as an associate. His debut album, Lie: The Love and Terror Cult, was released in 1970 and contained the song “Cease to Exist”, which The Beach Boys later reworked and released under the name “Never Learn to Love”. Through his association with Dennis Wilson, Manson also briefly collaborated with fellow Beach Boys members Carl and Brian Wilson.
“Cease to Exist” and other Lie cuts like “Look at Your Game, Girl”, “Garbage Dump”, and “Home is Where You’re Happy” were subsequently covered by the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Rob Zombie, GG Allin, The Lemonheads, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Devendra Banhart.
Once behind bars, Manson continued making music using tape recorders. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, he released a number of recordings and spoken word efforts, including Commemoration, Son of Man, Live at San Quentin, and The Way of the Wolf. He also managed to bring in outside talent for his projects, such as Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins, who recorded a collection of songs with Manson called Completion.
Below, revisit a few of Manson’s original tracks.
Director Quentin Tarantino intends to tell the story of the Manson Family murders with his next film.