Henry Hill, the mobster-turned FBI informant whose life story served as the basis for Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, died yesterday at the age of 69. Although the exact cause of death is not known at this point, it seems that Hill died of natural causes, not from a violent hail of bullets (the cause of death that he had been anticipating for most of his life). “He had been sick for a long time … his heart gave out,” his girlfriend, Lisa, told TMZ.
A prominent associate of the Lucchese crime family, Hill took part in the famous Lufthansa heist at JFK airport, the biggest cash robbery to ever take place on American soil. Shortly afterward, he broke the two cardinal rules of being a gangster (“Keep your mouth shut, and never rat on your friends”) and became an FBI informant. With his former associates out to kill him, Hill was placed in the FBI’s witness protection program, but was eventually kicked out after committing various crimes. In his later years, he was a frequent guest on Howard Stern’s radio program.
Goodfellas is one of the most oft quoted movies of all time, and so it’s no surprise that Hill’s death is being used by Twitter users as an opportunity to whip out the Goodfellas quotes. For the best of these, check out Patton Oswalt’s Twitter feed.