Music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector dies aged 81

17 January 2021, 16:18 | Updated: 17 January 2021, 20:54

Phil Spector has died aged 81
Phil Spector has died aged 81. Picture: Getty

By Maddie Goodfellow

Former music producer and convicted killer Phil Spector has died aged 81.

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation statement said: "California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6.35pm on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital. His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.

"Spector was admitted from Los Angeles County on June 5, 2009, for second-degree murder. He had been sentenced to 19 years to life for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.

"Before his incarceration, Spector was an influential record producer, musician and songwriter best known for developing a music production technique called the 'wall of sound'."

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 rushed back to the hospital, where he died.

Phil Spector was sentenced to 19 year to life in prison for murder
Phil Spector was sentenced to 19 year to life in prison for murder. Picture: Getty

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.

Spector made his name as a record producer for what became known as the "wall of sound" recording technique.

He worked with some of the biggest names in music including John Lennon, Ike and Tina Turner and The Righteous Brothers.

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 pair married in 1968 and divorced six years later, with Ronnie subsequently claiming in a memoir that he would keep her prisoner in his mansion and even threatened to kill her.

"When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best," she wrote on Instagram.

"He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days. Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale.

"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."