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Infamous Mob Boss James 'Whitey' Bulger Found Dead In Prison

Bulger was found unresponsive shortly after being transferred into USP Hazelton in West Virginia. Several outlets are reporting he was killed.

By Jill Sederstrom

Notorious Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger was found dead in prison shortly after being transferred to a high-security penitentiary in West Virginia, according to NBC News.

Bulgae, who earned notoriety as the head of the Winter Hill Gang and was convicted in 2013 of playing a role 11 murders, was 89. Prior to his 2011 arrest, Bulger had been on the run for 16 years and was on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list. 

Bulger was found unresponsive Tuesday morning at the U.S. penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia where he'd just been transferred, and a medical examiner declared him dead shortly afterward, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Authorities did not immediately release a cause of death but said the FBI was notified and is investigating.

Several outlets, including the Boston Globe, have reported Bulger was killed.

He had apparently been moved out of the Florida prison, where he had been serving is life sentence, to a temporary facility in Oklahoma before making his way to West Virginia. It's unclear why he had been moved.

His death ends a life punctuated by crime, violence and jail time.

Bulger was born Sept. 3, 1929 in South Boston as the second of six children living in a housing project. By 13, he would be arrested for the first time for delinquency, according to the New York Times and would go on to rob banks across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Indiana. He'd earn a 20-year sentence for the bank robberies in 1956 but would be released after serving just nine years, some of which was spent in the famed Alcatraz prison.

After his release, he went on to lead the Winter Hill Gang, a mob outfit known for loan-sharking, gambling and drug rackets, according to The Boston Globe.

It's believed that the notorious mob boss, who earned the nickname "Whitey" because of his platinum hair, was involved in multiple murders during his reign in Boston.

He and frequent business partner Stephen J. Flemmi also served as FBI informants in the mid-1970s, feeding federal authorities information on the New England mafia. Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after his FBI handler, John Connolly Jr., warned him he was about to be indicted on charges of racketeering and murder.

He continued to evade authorities for years until he was finally captured on June 22, 2011 at the age of 81 in Santa Monica, California, where he had been living in a rent-controlled apartment near the beach with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

In 2013, he was convicted in the slayings, as well as extortion, and money-laundering after a sensational racketeering trial that included graphic testimony from three former Bulger cohorts: a hit man, a protege and a partner. He was sentenced nearly five years ago to two consecutive life sentences plus five years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

[Photo: Getty Images]

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