Rock producer Phil Spector, who was convicted for the 2003 murder of a Hollywood actress, has died at age 81 of COVID-19, according to authorities and media reports, Reuters reported.
In a brief statement, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Spector died of natural causes at an outside hospital, and that his official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
He was diagnosed with COVID-19 four weeks ago and transferred to a hospital from his prison cell, where he had been serving a 19 years-to-life sentence for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, The Daily Mail said.
Clarkson, 40, was killed by a shot to the mouth, fired from Spector’s gun in the foyer of his mock castle home outside Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2003. The two met hours earlier at a Hollywood nightclub.
Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in a second trial, after the first trial deadlocked in 2007. The case drew worldwide interest because Spector was widely known as a rock music pioneer. In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Phil Spector had a long-standing reputation for gunplay. He carried a pistol and a biographer said he often placed it on the recording console as he worked. He reportedly fired a shot in the studio during an acrimonious recording session with John Lennon.
Photo by Getty images