Phil Spector, the famed music producer who was serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, has died at 81, "sources with direct knowledge" tell TMZ. TMZ wrote that Spector "died from COVID-related complications, after being transferred from his prison cell to a hospital." They're told that "he was diagnosed 4 weeks ago and went to the hospital but recovered well enough to return to prison."

"Our sources say he relapsed, had trouble breathing and was rushed back to the hospital, where he died Saturday," the article continues.

A press release from the California Department of Corrections also confirmed Spector's death, writing that Spector was pronounced deceased of natural causes at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, and that his official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.

Spector developed the "Wall of Sound" production formula, and had worked with The Crystals, The Ronettes, Darlene Love, The Beatles, the Ramones, Leonard Cohen, and more, co-writing and producing such hits as "Be My Baby," "Then He Kissed Me," "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," and more.

Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes, who was married to Phil from 1968 to 1974 and later said that Phil abused her and threatened to kill her during their marriage, posted a statement to Instagram, which reads:

It’s a sad day for music and a sad day for me.

When I was working with Phil Spector, watching him create in the recording studio, I knew I was working with the very best. He was in complete control, directing everyone. So much to love about those days.

Meeting him and falling in love was like a fairytale.

The magical music we were able to make together, was inspired by our love. I loved him madly, and gave my heart and soul to him.

As I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.

Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio.

Darkness set in, many lives were damaged.

I still smile whenever I hear the music we made together, and always will. The music will be forever

Phil Spector 1939-2021. #producer #goodbye #musicproducer #music #magic #therewasatime #philspector

Darlene Love also spoke at length to Rolling Stone about Spector's life and death. You can read that here.