Charles Manson’s death certificate has finally surfaced, revealing the official cause of death.
According to the death certificate from the Kern County Public Health Services Department, Manson died of acute cardiac arrest (ie. his heart stopped). But that’s not the whole story.
Reading a little further down the death certificate, we learn that his heart only stopped because of respiratory failure (ie. he stopped breathing), and below that it lists metastatic colon cancer. So really, Manson died of colon cancer.
The death certificate explains Manson’s earlier visit to the hospital last January, where his followers reported him to be in declining health and suffering abdominal pains, but gave little other information. Public health officials also refused to comment, but it seems likely that Manson received his diagnosis then.
It seems that Manson must have refused treatment (or it may have been too late to treat) as he did not return to the hospital until November, shortly before he died.
Manson is best known for his role in the death of Sharon Tate, the late wife of famed director Roman Polanski. Manson sent his brainwashed cult followers to murder in his name, descending upon Tate’s home with the clear intent to kill. Tate, along with six others, died on Aug. 9, 1969. Tate was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time.
Following a protracted trial that saw Manson both represent himself and engage in various antics meant to antagonize the proceedings, Manson was sentenced to death. However, his life was spared after California abolished the death penalty in 1972, commuting his sentence to life in prison.
Manson was eligible for parole several times during his incarceration, but each time presented himself as unrepentant, even scornful of the notion that he had a hand in the multiple murders committed by his followers. He was also at various times guilty of prison infractions, such as having marijuana and LSD in his cell and making voodoo dolls of prison officials, which he would torture in the hopes it would injure prison staff.
Manson’s death has touched off a legal battle for his estate, with three separate parties all claiming ties to the late cult leader.