Bernie Madoff's cause of death has been officially determined as chronic kidney disease, or renal disease, according to authorities at the prison where he was housed and where he spent his last years.
The infamous Ponzi schemer, who was sentenced to a 150-year prison term, died on April 14 behind bars. He was 82 years old.
In a letter sent to the Southern District of New York chief judge Laura Swain, a warden at the medical center at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina, shared the details with the court: "Bernard Madoff, who was sentenced in the Southern District of New York on June 29, 2009, by the Honorable Denny Chin, died at approximately 3:29 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. The cause of death was determined to be End-Stage Renal Disease."
Madoff’s poor health was publicly known. In a court filing in February 2020, he unsuccessfully pleaded to get early release saying he was dying and had less than 18 months to live as he was entering the final stages of kidney disease.
For decades, many investors looked up and trusted Madoff with their fortunes, including celebrities such as film director Steven Spielberg and actor Kevin Bacon. His business would be exposed as a Ponzi scheme and he was arrested in December 2008 for swindling thousands of clients out of close to $65 billion. It is believed to be the biggest fraud of all time in Wall Street’s history.
His son Mark committed suicide following the collapse of the fraud, while his other son Andrew died of cancer in 2014.
The incredible tale spawned at least two television movies in which Academy Award winners Robert De Niro and Richard Dreyfuss played Madoff.
Madoff ended up pleading guilty in March 2009, when he said he was "deeply sorry and ashamed." Judge Denny Chin sentenced him to the maximum possible term.