Whitey Bulger has died. The former organized crime boss was killed after being transferred to Hazelton Federal Prison in West Virginia, according to NBC News.
Bulger only had one son, Douglas Glenn Cyr, who was born whilst Bulger was climbing the ranks of the Winter Hill gang in South Boston. Douglas died when he was just 6 years old after coming down with Reye’s Syndrome.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Died From Reye’s Syndrome
Douglas died in 1972 from Reye’s Syndrome.
“Reye’s (Reye) syndrome is a rare but serious condition that causes swelling in the liver and brain. Reye’s syndrome most often affects children and teenagers recovering from a viral infection, most commonly the flu or chickenpox. Signs and symptoms such as confusion, seizures and loss of consciousness require emergency treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment of Reye’s syndrome can save a child’s life,” reports the Mayo Clinic.
According to Biography, Douglas had a “severe allergic reaction to aspirin.” He was just 6 years old.
2. His Mother, Lindsey Cyr, Was Bulger’s Wife by Common Law
Cyr met Bulger in the 60s when she was working as a waitress in North Quincy, Massachusetts. The two moved in together in 1966. Cyr was 21 at the time. The following year, she gave birth to Douglas.
Cyr and Bulger lived together for 12 years and were “married” according to Common Law. The former couple drifted apart after the death of their son, however. They kept in touch for a few years, but hadn’t spoken since Bulger disappeared in 1995, she told CBS Boston.
In any interviews that Cyr has given over the years, she has always spoken very highly of Bulger. According to the Irish Central, she said that Bulger “was a perfect gentleman and made her feel safe.”
3. Bulger Was a ‘Doting’ Father Who Was Said to Be ‘Devastated’ After His Son’s Death
Bulger loved his son and the two were very close, according to Cyr. In fact, from the moment that Cyr found out that she was pregnant, she said that Bulger was most “concerned” about the baby.
“From the minute I told him I was pregnant, that was what he had been concerned about,” Cyr told Irish Central.
After Douglas was born, Bulger spent as much time with his son as he could, really bonding with him, as any father-son relationship should be.
“[Bulger] talked to him about everything [and] listened to Douglas’ opinions as if he really needed to know,” Cyr told CBS Boston.
After Douglas’ death, Bulger was said to be “devastated.”
“Jimmy changed, Jimmy was devastated. We both were. I think it was all too painful for him,” Cyr added.
4. He’s Often Referred to as a ‘Secret Love Child’
A simple Google search for Bulger’s kids will turn up results of a “secret love child.” Because of Bulger’s gang-relations, he did everything that he could to protect his son — and that often meant keeping the child in hiding.
Just after Cyr learned she was pregnant, Bulger opened up to her about some of the things going on in his life.
“He explained to me that he was involved in loan sharking and gambling, and he was organizing things that were a little dangerous and pregnancy didn’t fit. It was too dangerous for him,” she told Irish Central back in 2010.
After Douglas was born, Bulger would visit a couple of times a week, but never “lived” at the home with his new family, for fear of them being hurt (or worse).
5. Bulger Didn’t Have Any Other Children
Bulger did not have any other children. He did, however, have other relationships. In the late 90s, he was linked to Theresa Stanley. The two fled together, but Stanley wanted to return home to her children. She did so a short while later.
Bulger then ran away with Catherine Greig, according to Biography.
Bulger lived his life on the run, going by an alias for several years. In 2011, however, he was captured.
“Bulger’s life on the run ended in June 2011, when he was caught and arrested in Santa Monica, California, after a 16-year manhunt. A tipster had notified the FBI that the 81-year-old fugitive and Greig had been living in a rent-controlled apartment as retirees. The FBI had the building manager lure Bulger to the garage of the apartment by telling him the lock on his storage locker was broken. In the garage, Bulger was surrounded by FBI agents and local police officers. He initially insisted he was his alias, Charlie Gasko, according to FBI special agent Scott Garriola, until he eventually admitted: “You know who I am; I’m Whitey Bulger,” reports Biography.