Charles Manson, the infamous leader of a Los Angeles-based cult and orchestrator of numerous deaths, has died at the age of 83.
The California Department of Corrections, referenced by CNN, says Manson died of natural causes.
Leader of the “Manson Family,” the media-given name for the deranged cult, Manson indirectly caused the deaths of at least seven individuals.
The Manson Family murders began August 9, 1969, when Manson’s followers broke into the home of film director Roman Polanski and actress Sharon Tate.
Tate, who was 8-months pregnant at the time, was murdered alongside four other individuals. Polanski was out of the country on the night of the murders.
The following evening, the same thing occurred: members of the Manson Family killed a married couple inside of their homes.
“Helter Skelter,” from the Beatles' White Album, served as an inspiration for the two-day killing spree. The words “Helter Skelter” were written in blood at the scenes of the crime.
Manson believed the song prophesied a catastrophic race war. The murders were meant to act as a catalyst for the impending event.
By December of 1969, warrants were issued for the arrest of Manson and several members of the Manson Family cult. Manson, and three of his followers, went on trial in LA courts on June 16, 1970
Despite being the leader of the cult and coordinator of the killings, Manson didn’t murder anyone himself, leading to complications during his trial.
Regardless, Manson, along with cult members Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, were found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence was later reduced to life in prison after the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty.
The occult-like nature of the crimes and Manson’s strange, charismatic nature, put the murder, trial, and Manson himself on the worldwide stage. Scores of documentaries, fictional works, and parodies have centered on Manson and the Manson Family Murders, catapulting the cult leader into the status a pop culture icon.