​​The real estate scion was infamously caught on tape saying he "killed them all, of course."
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Robert Durst, the outlandish New York real estate scion who was convicted of murdering his best friend to prevent her from telling authorities she helped cover up his wife's killing, and whose participation in the high-profile true-crime miniseries The Jinx helped seal his fate, died Monday at a hospital in Stockton, Calif. He was 78.

His lawyer, Chip Lewis, said in a statement provided to EW, "Mr. Durst passed away early this morning while in the custody of the California Department of Corrections. We understand that his death was due to natural causes associated with the litany of medical issues we had repeatedly reported to the court over the last couple of years."

Durst, who was serving a life sentence, had been hospitalized with COVID-19 in October and was briefly on a ventilator.

Durst was long suspected of foul play in the mysterious disappearance of his wife, Kathleen (née McCormack), in New York in 1982; the execution-style killing of his close confidante Susan Berman in Beverly Hills in 2000; and the death and dismemberment of his neighbor Morris Black in Texas later that year.

Robert Durst
Robert Durst in court in 2021
| Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Over the years Durst both retreated from the public eye — jumping bail, donning outlandish disguises — and actively sought the spotlight. His bizarre, winding path was chronicled in, and ultimately affected by, the six-part HBO docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst in 2015.

Durst contacted filmmaker Andrew Jarecki after seeing his 2010 movie All Good Things, which starred Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst as barely veiled versions of Durst and his wife, and implicated him in three killings. Durst found it to be a largely accurate and understanding portrayal, reached out to Jarecki, and agreed to take part in a documentary project for which he was interviewed at length. The Jinx ended with a bombshell moment caught on a hot mic in which Durst could be heard muttering to himself in the bathroom, "That's it, you're caught," and saying he "killed them all, of course."

Durst would later say in court that participating in The Jinx was a "very, very, very, big mistake."

Durst was arrested for Berman's murder a day before the explosive Jinx finale. The trial began in March 2020 but was paused for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It picked back up again in May 2021. Durst was found guilty of first-degree murder in September and weeks later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Robert Durst in 'The Jinx'
| Credit: Marc Smerling/HBO

Two decades before his conviction, Durst was acquitted of murdering his neighbor Morris Black in a flophouse in Galveston, Texas. He claimed that Black's death was either an accident or self-defense after Durst came home to find Black in his apartment with his gun — though he did admit to dismembering Black's body and dumping it in Galveston Bay, and was convicted of destroying evidence for doing so.

Kathleen Durst vanished without a trace Jan. 31, 1982, at a time when the Dursts' marriage was crumbling. She was 29. She has never been found, and was declared legally dead in 2017. The Westchester County district attorney reopened the case of her disappearance in May, and Durst was charged with her murder in October.

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