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Mass murderer Charles Manson hospitalized, near death

BAKERSFIELD, California - "Helter Skelter" leader and mass murderer Charles Manson is a now a frail 83-year-old man,  who lay dying in a California hospital bed.

Manson has been hospitalized since Monday and is guarded by police.

While medical authorities will not discuss his condition, a source for TMZ says Manson's health is deteriorating, and describes his appearance as "ashen," adding, "It's just a matter of time."

Manson was also hospitalized in January for severe gastrointestinal issues.

A fading swastika tattoo sits between his eyebrows as a permanent reminder of the horror that Manson created in the late 1960's, as leader of the "Manson Family" cult.

While Manson never physically killed anyone, he was deemed responsible for instructing his followers to carry out nine grisly murders, including the murder of the unborn, late-term baby of actress Sharon Tate.

"Believe me, if I started murdering people, there would be none of you left," Manson notoriously stated during an NBC interview in 1987.

Manson was convicted in 1971 and sentenced to death, however, the following year California commuted all remaining death sentences to life in prison, based on a Supreme Court ruling.

Manson has spent the last 46 years - more than half of his life - at the California State Prison in Corcoran.