Murderous Cult Leader Charles Manson Dies At 83

Convicted murderer and cult leader Charles Manson has died of natural causes at the age of 83. His death was announced by the California Department of Corrections.

Manson died at 8:13 p.m. (11:13 p.m. ET) at a hospital in Kern County, said a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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 had been imprisoned since 1971, when he was charged in connection with the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others.

The wife of film director Roman Polanski, Tate was eight months pregnant when members of the so-called Manson Family broke into her house in Los Angeles and stabbed her. Four other people at the house were also killed. The next day, Manson’s followers murdered two people in a separate attack.

Although Manson did not commit the murders, he was accused of orchestrating the killings.

Manson and four of his followers were convicted on five counts of first degree murder. Initially sentenced to death, their sentences were communted to life in prison when capital punishment was briefly abolished in the United States in 1972.

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