Phil Spector: Ex-music producer and convicted killer dies

·2-min read

Watch: Ex-music producer and convicted killer dies

Disgraced former music producer Phil Spector has died aged 81.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has confirmed he died of natural causes on Saturday evening.

TMZ says the 81-year-old was diagnosed with coronavirus four weeks ago and was transferred from his prison cell to a hospital.

It is understood he recovered enough to return to prison but relapsed, had trouble breathing and was taken back to the hospital, where he died.

Known for his Wall of Sound production method, Spector worked with a number of stars in the 1960s, co-writing the Righteous Brothers hit You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.

He produced The Beatles' album Let It Be in 1970.

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."

In 2009, he was jailed for a minimum sentence of 19 years for murdering actress Lana Clarkson.

The 40-year-old died of a gunshot fired into her mouth while she was in Spector's mansion in 2003.

He always maintained his innocence and claimed Clarkson died from accidental suicide.

After news of his death broke, his former wife Ronnie Spector, whose music he produced when she was in The Ronettes, said it was a "sad day for music and a sad day for me".

"The magical music we were able to make together, was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him.

"As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.

"Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged."

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini told Sky News people should remember both his artistry and his crime.

"You can't just say that Phil Spector was a great record producer, which he was, and you can't just say he was a killer, which he was, so let's ignore his previous work," he said.

"We have to be able to hold more than one thought in our head at the same time."