The man whose infamous murder spree inspired the Amityville Horror franchise has died.
Ronald DeFeo passed away on Friday, March 12, at age 69. He died at the Albany Medical Center; he was taken to the hospital from prison in early February, according to PEOPLE.
The cause of death was not released as well as to why DeFeo was hospitalized on February 2. The cause of death "will be determined and released by the Albany County Medical Examiner's Office" but it's up to their discretion if the results will be made public, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Services (DOCCS) said.
DeFeo was sentenced to prison after he murdered his parents and four siblings as they slept in 1974. During the trial, he claimed that he heard voices encouraging him to kill his family and tried to plea insanity. In a 1992 retrial, DeFeo claimed that his younger sister, Dawn, actually shot the rest of the family before he shot her.
In the end, he was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and was given six sentences of 25 years to life but was reportedly scheduled for a parole hearing in July, according to the New York Post.
DeFeo was only 23 years old at the time when his family was found dead facedown in their beds after the grisly murders.
After the killings, a couple, George and Kathy Lutz, moved into the home and only stayed there for 28 days. The pair claimed to have seen green slime oozing from the walls and heard odd noises and voices. Their time in the home inspired the 1976 The Amityville Horror: A True Story novel, which later turned into several films including a 2005 remake with Ryan Reynolds.
George told ABC News in 2006 that some of the details in the books and films, such as the green slime, were exaggerated.
The home was most recently put up for sale in 2016 for $850,000, and the story is known locally as the "The Amityville Hoax," listing agent Gerald O’Neill told PEOPLE.
"The whole story was made up," O'Neill explained. "It was orchestrated to help with a potential demonic defense for the son who murdered his family."