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TMZ: Charles Manson dead at 83

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The sister of one of the so-called "Manson Family" victims tells TMZ Charles Manson has died.

Debra Tate, whose sister Sharon was killed by Manson's followers, tells the website she received a call from prison saying Manson died Sunday evening.

Manson used sex, drugs, repeated playings of the Beatles' "White Album" and readings from the Bible to persuade his young followers that they could launch a race war between blacks and whites by killing people, then hide in the desert until it was over. He was particularly fascinated by the Beatles' song "Helter Skelter," which he saw as predicting the coming race war, although its lyrics mainly seem to reference a childhood playground slide of that name.

His followers' victims included Tate, who was several months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and several other wealthy and prominent people.

Manson had been an inmate at Corcoran State Prison.

He had been in a Bakersfield hospital over the past week.

Manson had been sentenced to death in 1971.

He was 83 years old.

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