Here's Why Charles Manson's Health Issues Were Shrouded in Secrecy

Charles Manson died Sunday evening after reportedly spending seven days in medical care at a Kern County hospital.

But despite the media frenzy surrounding the cult leader’s crimes and prison stay, the 83-year-old’s declining health condition was largely kept quiet.

Bakersfield, California law enforcement confirmed Wednesday that Manson had been hospitalized, but state prison officials would not comment on the inmate’s condition.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials kept mum on the subject because federal and state medical privacy laws prohibit them “from commenting on protected health information for any inmate in our custody,” they said.

Not only did officials decline to confirm the notorious killer’s condition, they also could not reveal the facility at which Manson was admitted last week. Still, Bakersfield reporters suggested that Manson was a patient at Mercy Hospital after spotting a prison department van and security officers at the facility.

Though much of Manson’s health condition is unknown, he was hospitalized at least two times this year.

He was rushed in January to Mercy Hospital, one of several facilities contracted by California Correctional Health Care services to treat prisoners, after reportedly suffering from gastrointestinal issues.

Manson was reportedly scheduled to undergo surgery for his pain, but doctors determined his condition was too weak and opted not to put him under the knife. Since then, reports have alleged that Manson’s condition only worsened with every illness he contracted.

Per federal and state laws, prison officials never confirmed any details of Manson’s January hospital stay, despite numerous reports surrounding the prisoner’s condition.

Still, a department official said placing inmates in hospital care is a careful, highly coordinated act.

"They remain under CDCR custody and 24-hour supervision during this time," department spokeswoman Vicky Waters to the Los Angeles Times. "CDCR also notifies and works with hospital security and law enforcement."

She said inmates are “routinely” taken to outside hospitals for health care services ranging from surgeries to emergency trauma.

Though details of Manson’s health status couldn’t be shared publicly, officials encourage followers not to dwell on his life — or death.

Michele Hanisee, president of the Assn. of Deputy District Attorneys, issued a statement Sunday saying that Vincent Bugliosi, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted Manson, “provided the most accurate summation: ‘Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.’

“Today, Manson's victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,” Hanisee said.


Manson was convicted in 1969 of murdering or ordering others to kill pregnant actress Sharon Tate, as well as six other people during a two-night rampage in Los Angeles. He was also convicted of two other murders.

He was sentenced to nine concurrent life sentences, and had been denied parole 12 times during his four-decade prison stint.