Whitey Bulger Died of Head Injuries, Death Certificate Says

April 26, 2019 Updated: April 26, 2019

BOSTON—A death certificate confirms that notorious Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger died of blunt force injuries to the head in prison last year.

The document obtained by NBC Boston says the 89-year-old Bulger was “assaulted by other(s)” and was found in his cell at 8:21 a.m. Oct. 30.

Bulger was serving a life sentence for 11 murders and other crimes when he was beaten to death in his prison cell, hours after he was transferred to a West Virginia prison.

No charges have been filed in Bulger’s death, but officials have said two Massachusetts mobsters are under suspicion in his killing.

James "Whitey" Bulger
These 1953 file Boston police booking photos provided by The Boston Globe shows James “Whitey” Bulger after an arrest. (Boston Police/The Boston Globe via AP)

Bulger ran a largely Irish mob in Boston in the 1970s and ’80s and ratted on members of the New England Mob to the FBI.

He spent 16 years as one of America’s most wanted fugitives until he was found in 2011, living with his girlfriend in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, California.

Second Whitey Bulger suspect identified
This undated file FBI photo found in Boston during an evidence search and released Dec. 30, 1998, shows James “Whitey” Bulger. (FBI via AP, File)

Bulger was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for 11 murders and numerous other crimes. He’d been assigned to prisons in Arizona and Florida specializing in sick inmates before he arrived at Hazelton prison in Bruceton Mills in October 2018.

He was found bloodied and wrapped in a blanket on Oct. 30, 2018 after apparently being beaten with a lock stuffed in a sock.

Massachusetts mobster James "Whitey" Bulger.
Massachusetts mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. (FBI via AP, File)

Bulger Hoped for ‘Peaceful Death’

Months before he was bludgeoned to death by other inmates, Bulger expressed hope for a “peaceful death,” newly disclosed letters show.

The 89-year-old described his declining health and his hopes for his demise in several letters to a friend, The Boston Globe reports.

“I prefer to stay here and hope to get a peaceful death,” Bulger wrote last summer, according to the newspaper. “One of those he Died in his Sleep kind.”

Florida resident Charlie Hopkins said he shared the letters with the Globe to show his friend wasn’t healthy enough to be transferred from a Florida prison to a West Virginia one that offered fewer medical services.

The two had connected because they’d served time in Alcatraz penitentiary in San Francisco in the 1950s, though not at the same time.

Hopkins told the Globe he wanted to “get justice for Whitey” because he believes prison officials knew he’d be killed if placed among the general inmate population.

James "Whitey" Bulger
James “Whitey” Bulger, right, is escorted from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter to a waiting vehicle at an airport in Plymouth, Mass., after attending hearings in federal court in Boston, on June 30, 2011. (Stuart Cahill/The Boston Herald via AP, File)

The prison houses other Massachusetts gangsters and two other inmates had been killed in the months prior to Bulger’s arrival.

“They knew what would happen if they put him in a place like that, and I think that was the sole purpose of transferring him,” Hopkins told the paper.