UPDATE: The Marin County coroner's office has said today the cause of serial killer Richard Ramirez' death was a form of cancer.
In a press release, Lt. Keith Boyd, the assistant chief deputy coroner, said the Night Stalker died of complications from B-cell Lymphoma, otherwise known as Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the most common cancer of the lymphatic system.
The coroner's report also included two other "significant conditions," that Ramirez was dealing with: chronic substance abuse and chronic hepatitis "C" Viral Infection.
Richard Ramirez, one of the most infamous convicted murderers in California history whose serial crimes were described as both abominable and cruel, died this morning while on death row. He was 53.
Ramirez, better known as the "Night Stalker," stirred up an air of fear across Southern California during the 1980's in a break-in crime spree that resulted in gruesome murders -- including one in San Francisco -- and sexual assaults against a slew of victims young and old, male and female.
He died in Marin General Hospital of "natural causes," according to state officials. Ramirez had been on death row for decades, awaiting execution -- and pending appeals.
"If you looked up evil in the dictionary, I think there might be a picture of Richard Ramirez there," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said today at a press conference.
In 1989, Ramirez was convicted of killing 13 people; As he made his way out of the courtroom, Ramirez was quoted saying "big deal. Death always went with the territory. See you in Disneyland."
That statement only highlighted his cold indifference toward his crimes and the consequences.
In 2009, Ramirez was linked to the 1984 murder of 9-year-old Mei Leung who was found dead inside the basement of a Tenderloin residential hotel in San Francisco. Ramirez was reportedly staying at two hotels nearby in the weeks leading up to the incident.
Victims of Ramirez were found strangled, with their throats slashed, or shot. And because Ramirez was an outspoken Satanist, he was known to leave behind spray-painted pentagrams at crime scenes. He also flashed a similar, hand-drawn symbol on the inside of his palm during a court appearance and exclaimed, "Hail, Satan."
Suhr admitted he was scared himself at the mere sight of Ramirez in passing.
"Just the dead eyes," he said to group of reporters and television cameras, describing what most stood out about the serial killer.
"I remember being on the sixth floor one time walking to do an interview where they keep a lot of suspects awaiting trial, and he was sort of in the window, just standing there like it was a picture window. One of my other officers almost jumped into my arms and said 'Jeeze, can you imagine finding that guy in your closet?'"
Suhr also recalled just how anxious the city was when Ramirez was around, saying people were told to keep their windows locked tight.