Former music producer and convicted killer Phil Spector dies aged 81

Former music producer and convicted killer Phil Spector dies aged 81

FORMER MUSIC producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector has died. 

According to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the 81-year-old passed away of natural causes on Saturday evening. 

TMZ previously reported that Spector was diagnosed with coronavirus last December. 

He was initially transferred from his cell to a hospital but eventually recovered well enough to return to prison. 

Spector is said to have suffered some form of relapse back behind bars, where he reportedly had trouble breathing before being taken to hospital where he died. 

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statement said: "His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office." 

Famous for his Wall of Sound production method, Spector worked with a string of famous artists in the 1960s and went on to produce The Beatles’ album Let It Be in 1970. 

He also produced the Christmas album A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, which featured on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of all-time. 

Towards the end of the 1970s, Spector also worked with The Ramones producing their cover of Baby I Love You, a song Spector previously wrote for the Ronettes, which was a top ten hit in Ireland.

The 1980s and 1990s saw Spector step away from the limelight, with speculation rife of drink and drug addiction issues. 

His life changed forever in 2009 when he was jailed for a minimum of 19 years for the second-degree murder of actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion in 2003. 

Spector insisted he was innocent and that the 40-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot after she “kissed the gun”. 

However, four women came forward at his trial to claim Spector had threatened them with a gun after spurning his advances.  

There were also stories of Spector threatening artists like Leonard Cohen with a gun during his time as a producer.