Michel Fourniret, one of France's most notorious serial killers, has died in a hospital jail, the public prosecutor said on Monday. He was 77 and had been in jail for nearly two decades.
Fourniret, dubbed by the media the "Ogre of the Ardennes", was convicted in 2008 of raping or attempting to rape seven women and girls aged between 12 and 22 and then killing them.
His murderous spree spanned more than a decade, from 1987 to 2001.
Fourniret was serving two life sentences after a court in 2018 handed him a second jail term for the killing of a mobster's companion.
Fourniret, who had admitted a fascination for virgins, was arrested in 2003 after a 13-year-old girl escaped from his van and called the police.
He committed most of his crimes in the wooded Ardennes region of northern France and in Belgium.
At the time, police missed a series of opportunities to snare Fourniret and the lessons learned helped bring about reforms in the way French police investigate serial murders.