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Goodfellas gangster Henry Hill passes away aged 69

June 14, 2012

Henry Hill, an ex-gangster-turned-FBI informant who had his life become the basis for the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas, passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 69 yesterday.

Hill’s partner and manager, Ms Lisa Caserta, didn’t give any specific cause for the death but did add that years of smoking and complications from recent heart attacks definitely contributed. More specifically, Caserta commented to TMZ that Hill had been ill for a long time and that his heart had given out.

On the silver screen, Ray Liotta played Hill in the 1990 film, which was also an Oscar winner and became a cult classic. The movie had been based on Nicholas Pileggi’s 1986 book Wiseguy, which documented Hill’s life and made him a celebrity in his later years.

Ms Caserta was speaking to American broadcaster CBS News when she commented that Hill was with members of his family when he died and went out pretty peacefully – especially when considering that he was once a goodfella. As documented in both Wiseguy and Goodfellas, Hill was born into a poor Italian-Irish family and became an associate of the domineering Lucchese crime family of New York.

He had an involvement in various criminal acts, one of which was the Lufthansa heist in 1978 that saw $5m in cash and $875,000 worth of jewels stolen at JFK Airport in Queens, New York. Hill enjoyed the mob life for at least 20 years until 1980, which is when he was apprehended on drugs charges and agreed to “rat out” his mob peers in order to avoid jail time.

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