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'Goodfellas' mobster Henry Hill dies at 69

By Molly Gray, for CNN
updated 5:46 PM EDT, Fri June 15, 2012
James "Whitey" Bulger rose to the top of the notorious Winter Hill gang, prosecutors say, before he went into hiding for more than 16 years after a crooked FBI agent told him in December 1994 he was about to be indicted on federal racketeering charges. He was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011, living under a false name with his girlfriend in an apartment in the oceanside city. On August 12, the gangster was found guilty on 31 of 32 counts -- including involvement in 11 murders. Here are some other gangsters from America's past. James "Whitey" Bulger rose to the top of the notorious Winter Hill gang, prosecutors say, before he went into hiding for more than 16 years after a crooked FBI agent told him in December 1994 he was about to be indicted on federal racketeering charges. He was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011, living under a false name with his girlfriend in an apartment in the oceanside city. On August 12, the gangster was found guilty on 31 of 32 counts -- including involvement in 11 murders. Here are some other gangsters from America's past.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Then man who inspired mobster film, "Goodfellas," passed away at the age of 69 Tuesday
  • Hill was a gangster, turned police informant whose story was immoratlized in Martin Scorsese's film
  • He lived in relative obscurity until the film's popularity drew him out of hiding
  • Hill's longtime companion, Lisa Caserta, told media he died surrounded by family members

(CNN) -- The man immortalized by Martin Scorsese's film "Goodfellas" has died.

Henry Hill, a former member of the Lucchese family of mobsters, died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, according to a statement on his website.

Hill passed away one day after his 69th birthday. The cause of Hill's death has not yet been released.

The self-proclaimed mobster first came onto the media scene in the nonfiction book "Wiseguy," by journalist Nicholas Pileggi, detailing the "never-before-revealed day-to-day life of a working mobster -- his violence, his wild spending sprees, his wife, his mistresses, his code of honor," according to the book's back cover.

Former mobster Henry Hill (standing) appears in the audience during a TV show in Los Angeles in 2010.
Former mobster Henry Hill (standing) appears in the audience during a TV show in Los Angeles in 2010.

The 1990 film, "Goodfellas," depicted the rock-n-roll lifestyle of New York City mobsters -- everything from wealth and women to drugs and death.

AMC has 'Goodfellas' series in development

"You never rat on your friends and you always keep your mouth shut," Hill's character, played by Ray Liotta, was told in the movie.

However, when Hill became worried his mob associates were out to kill him he became a police informant and "ratted out" scores of other gangsters.

As the New York Times reported, the largest crime in which Hill participated was a theft at New York's Kennedy International Airport, when the clan stole $5 million in cash and another $1 million in jewels from a Lufthansa cargo terminal.

Hill testified against his compatriots and was not prosecuted for the crime.

He lived in relative obscurity until the film's success drew him out of hiding.

Later in life, Hill became somewhat of a media magnet, appearing frequently in mafia documentaries and as a guest on "The Howard Stern Show."

The mobster was quite prolific on his website, goodfellahenry.com, dedicating an entire section entitled the "How to Be a Mobster Guide" to dispensing tricks of the trade.

In the guide, which he wrote was meant to be purely humor, Hill described how to "pistol whip", how to look good while on the run and the best ways to hide a corpse.

Hill's longtime companion, Lisa Caserta told CBS News that he died surrounded by family members and that years of smoking and a recent heart attack were cause for his poor health.

2011: Original 'Goodfella' Henry Hill talks mafia busts

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