Phil Spector
Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Famed music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector has died at the age of 80.

Spector passed away on Jan. 16 at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton of natural causes. Multiple reports attribute Spector's death to COVID-19 but the official cause has yet to be determined.

"California Health Care Facility inmate Phillip Spector, 80, was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at an outside hospital," a press release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reads. "His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office."

The man behind some of the biggest hits released by The Beatles, The Righteous Brothers, and the Ramones, among others, was convicted of second-degree murder in relation to the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. In 2009, he began serving his sentence of 19 years to life. Spector would have been eligible for parole in 2024.

Spector had a tumultuous personal life too. His ex-wife Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the Ronettes, accused her then-husband of abuse in her 1990 memoir Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness.

"Working with Phil Spector was working with the best," she posted on Instagram after his death was announced. "So much to love about those days. Falling in love was like a fairytale. The magical music we made was inspired by our love. He was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband. The music is forever 1939-2021."

Spector, who won a Grammy Award for Best Album in 1973 for co-producing George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh, is known for creating the music production formula "Wall of Sound" in the 1960s.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and The Songwriters Hall of Fame eight years later.

A fictional account of Spector's murder trial was covered in the 2013 HBO film Phil Spector from David Mamet, with Al Pacino playing the titular role.

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