Richard Ramirez, a death row inmate convicted of 13 murders in a gruesome mid-1980s string of attacks that gained him the nickname "Night Stalker" and set the Los Angeles region on edge, died on Friday at a hospital near the prison where he was held, a corrections official said.
Ramirez, 53, died of natural causes at Marin General Hospital near San Quentin State Prison in Northern California where he had been held, state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Jeffrey Callison said.
Ramirez, who was originally from Texas, was convicted of 13 murders in 1989 following a string of killings in the 1980s that horrified the Los Angeles region. He gained his "Night Stalker" nickname for breaking into the homes of victims late at night.
He was found guilty of a total of 43 counts including attempted murder, rape, sodomy, and burglary, said Los Angeles prosecutor Alan Yochelson, who assisted in the case against Ramirez.
Some 23 victims suffered in the crimes for which Ramirez was convicted, Yochelson said.
Yochelson called Ramirez's death an abrupt end to a "pretty tragic period in the history of Los Angeles County."
"Richard Ramirez hurt a lot of people and I think our thoughts should be with the next of kin and the survivors, because their lives were forever changed by this man," he said.
Ramirez was one of 59 California death row inmates who died of natural causes since the state reinstated executions in 1978, the state Department of Corrections said in a statement.
Amid court challenges over its method of putting inmates to death, California has not executed an inmate in seven years.
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