Kaing Guek Eav, the former schoolteacher known as Duch who became the most notorious killer during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia in the 1970s, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Phnom Penh, the nation’s capital. He was 77.
He was admitted to Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital on Tuesday, and his death was announced by Neth Pheaktra, spokesman for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh. The Kandal provincial court later said in a statement that he had died of lung disease.
Duch was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 for atrocities he had committed as a commandant of the Tuol Sleng prison. At least 14,000 people died after being held there, most of them sent to a killing field after being tortured and forced to confess to often imaginary crimes. Only a handful survived.