Khmer Rouge Butcher dies at 80

Ta Mok, who was born in 1926 according to available records, was suffering from high blood pressure, tuberculosis and respiratory complications. He was being treated at a military hospital, where he died at 4:45 a.m. Friday, said his lawyer, Benson Samay. He had been in government custody since 1999.

Ta Mok briefly led the Khmer Rouge during its final days, and was one of two former senior officials of the movement in detention awaiting trial for crimes against humanity committed during the group's time in power in 1975-1979, when an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died of starvation, overwork, diseases and execution, according to the AP.

A veteran revolutionary who operated much of the time as a regional warlord, his ruthlessness earned him the nickname "The Butcher" in the Western press.