BIG READ: Charles Manson’s sad, lonely death
THE grandson of notorious US cult leader Charles Manson has revealed for the first time that his infamous relative died of cancer.
The man famed for orchestrating one of the most famous killing sprees of the 20th century died, aged 83, at a Kern County hospital in California last Sunday.
Manson, convicted of ordering the murders of nine people including pregnant actor Sharon Tate, was serving out his life sentence at California State Prison in Corcoran.
He had spent more than half his life behind bars after being sentenced in 1971.
In an exclusive interview with News Corp, his last known surviving relative Jason Freeman, 41, said despite his grandfather's infamous legacy - he still loved him.
Freeman, a former champion cage fighter from Ohio, has been left with the task of grieving his grandfather - a man he adored but whose legacy inspired great pain.
"He had cancer. We knew that last year, it's just not something we shared with people," said Mr Freeman.
The married father-of-three from Florida has been in regular contact with Manson for seven years and regrets not being able to visit his grandfather before he died.
"I did love him and I got to understand more of what he dealt with. I think we created a good bond and I think it was good for him to have that and to know that before he passed away, that was my goal," said Mr Freeman.
Mr Freeman said the days since Manson's death had been "hard", recounting how he woke last Sunday to "about 500 calls and messages" from Manson's inner circle of followers.
John Jones, one of Manson's close friends, broke the news to Mr Freeman.
"Johnny had his hopes up things were going to be OK, just like last time he went hospital. We thought he was going to have some standard procedures done and get looked at and then he'd be sent back to the prison but that didn't happen this time," Mr Freeman said
Mr Freeman declined to comment on whether he'd been listed as the murderous cult leader's "next of kin", which would give him legal rights to claim his grandfather's body.
Mr Freeman's father, Charles Manson Junior, was the first child born to the cult leader with his first wife, Rosalie Jean Willis.
Haunted by Manson's gory legacy, he changed his name to Jay White, but was unable to escape his demons and committed suicide in 1993.
Mr Freeman was just 16 at the time.
Mr Freeman's dad was found in his car on the side of a highway in Burlington, Colorado.
He died from a gun shot wound to the head believed to be self inflicted.
The then bereaved teenager only had minimal contact with his absent father but felt "crushed" they had lost their chance at ever having a father-son relationship.
He expressed his pent up anger through wrestling but frequently ended up in trouble with the law, spending his youth in and out of juvenile detention, echoing Manson's own childhood.
Eventually he was convicted for drug trafficking and did prison time.
Determined to escape his family's cycle of drugs and violence he turned his attention to clean-living, MMA fighting and settled down with wife, Audrey.
He received his first contact from Manson aged 34.
"He started calling me, of course he could only call me, I couldn't call him but we had frequent calls for about four years and then letters for the first four to five years," he said.
"Then it was slowing down and I think that had to do with his illness," said Mr Freeman, who has been working in the oil and gas industry since quitting professional fighting six years ago.
"The great thing we got to share was how much we meant to each other and we shared bible scriptures. To hear a man talk that had been convicted of conspiracy to murder you wouldn't think that he'd be so well versed with the scripture."
Mr Freeman blames the bureaucracy of the prison system for preventing his grandfather from receiving visitors in his dying years.
"There was no assistance through the prison system or the social workers or administrators to help assist my grandfather in his old age to obtain the proper visitation forms. As most people know he can't read too well, he can't write too well, he can get by but when it comes to forms he didn't have his proper glasses," Mr Freeman said.
"His cell was raided multiple times by inmates and guys confiscating his artwork. Anytime he went to the rest room he would come back out and he's lost his dentures, his glasses ...
"On his way down the prison system just pulled as much as they could out of him before he died. I know in the future we're going to see somebody that's involved with California Corrections selling my grandfather's work."
Charles Manson is also believed to have two other biological children, although their whereabouts remain unknown.