How Did John Gotti Die? The Teflon Don’s Demise

How Did John Gotti Die

Most people interested in mob families always read about the end of the greatest bosses, and a common question in the area is, How did John Gotti die? 

John Gotti is a genuinely outstanding figure in the mafioso world, and his life has many exciting aspects.

From his poor beginnings to running the most prominent crime family in New York, Gotti had an adventurous life story with a tragic end. 

Read on to get more details about his life of crime, how he ran the family, and what eventually led to his downfall and death;

How Did John Gotti Die?

John Gotti died of Cancer in June of 2002 despite getting surgery and having the tumor successfully removed the first time. 

He was diagnosed in 1998 while in prison, and that is where his first surgery was performed, but the cancer came back a few years later. He was transferred back to Springfield, but his condition worsened, and he died.

Who Was John Gotti?

If you are a fan of mafia movies, chances are you have watched a movie or two inspired by John Gotti’s life. 

This is one of the most interesting and scary criminals in United States history, and he is at the level of Pablo Escobar and the like.

John Gotti was a New York-based mafioso who was affiliated with the Gambino crime family that had controlled the territory for decades. For a while, John Gotti was the head of the world’s most potent syndicate, which made him famous.

He orchestrated and assisted in murdering the then head of the family, Paul Castellano, and then John took his empire. 

John Gotti created a reputation for himself and earned nicknames: The Teflon Don, Crazy Horse, The Dapper Don, and Johnny Boy.

Like most mafiosos, John had a stable family back home with a wife, Victoria DiGiorgio, and five children. He also had three brothers, Gene Gotti, Richard Gotti, and Peter Gotti, who succeeded John as head of the Gambino Crime family.

John Gotti and his siblings were born into a poor background, and this inevitably led them into a life of crime at a young age. 

They learned fast, and their expertise in criminal endeavors eventually got them a seat at the table with the Gambino crime family. 

John Gotti stood out since he was rapidly becoming one of the fastest earners for the family. An underboss of the Gambino family, Aniello Dellacroce, took him under his wing to teach him about the mafia world and how things there worked. 

Aniello operated in Queens around Ozone Park, where John started making his mark. The FBI arrested several members of the Gambino family for selling drugs, and this created disputes since Castellano didn’t allow drug trafficking.

The far increased, and there was more rivalry between the leaders of the Gambino family. John Gotti used this opportunity to make his move. He organized the murder of the boss, Castellano, and took his place as head of the Gambino syndicate.

During the peak of his criminal career, John was one of the most feared and powerful crime bosses in the US. He became famous thanks to his flamboyant style and outspoken personality that contrasted the lifestyle most mafia people choose.

His personality made him a popular favorite as he carried himself more like a rapper than a gangster. He got one of his nicknames, “The Dapper Don,” because of his media personality and expensive clothes.

He was tried  times in the 1980s, but he was acquitted each time, earning him his second nickname, ‘The Teflon Don.’ It turned out that he had interfered with all the trials by witness intimidation, Jury tampering, and jury misconduct.

Through all this, law enforcement agencies gathered information on John Gotti, and at his peak, he made anywhere between $5 million and $20 million annually as a mob boss. He seemed unstoppable, but his downfall would come because of a betrayal.

One of his underbosses, Salvatore Gravano, worked with the FBI and helped them convict John Gotti in 1991. The FBI had recordings of John implicating Salvatore for several murders, and they used it to turn him on John Gotti.

Salvatore agreed to give up evidence and testify against John, which finally led to the downfall of The Teflon Don. John was found guilty of extortion, gambling, racketeering, loansharking, murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.

The accumulation of these charges gave him a life sentence without a possibility of parole, ending his otherwise successful career. 

He made a historic mark in the Gambino Crime family and has remained the subject of many movies and novels. 

John Gotti’s Imprisonment 

John Gotti was arrested, and his case was tried in 1992. The Teflon Don couldn’t use his previous tricks without his associates backing him, so justice prevailed in this hearing. The testimonies from victims and his associates proved he was the crime boss.

The Jury deliberated for 14 hours and found him guilty on all charges, which was the last time he was free. Judge Glasser sentenced John Gotti and Locascio to life imprisonment, and they took them out of the public light, but it wasn’t the end of their stories.

Gotti was sent to the United States Penitentiary in Illinois, and he spent most of his sentence in personal confinement. This is because he had a lot of influence and rivalries, and it was clear he would have been a target of rival families.

He was allowed only an hour daily from his cell to keep him away from the other prisoners. John Gotti filed several appeals, but all of them were rejected, with the final being turned down by the Supreme Court in 1994.

The reason for John Gotti’s solitary confinement was made even more evident by the disputes he had with other inmates. One of the worst was with an inmate called Walter Johnson, who punched Gotti and left him bleeding and bruised.

Johnson claimed Gotti made a racial slurry, and that’s why he attacked him, but Gotti didn’t take the insult lightly. Gotti offered gangs in the prison, around 400,000, to kill Johnson as revenge for attacking him.

Fearing for his safety, the prison transferred Johnson to a Supermax prison in Colorado, where he was out of reach by the Aryan Brotherhood that Gotti had hired. Most people would lose their power and position when imprisoned, but Gotti is unlike most people. 

He insisted on keeping his title as boss of the family until he retired or died, and he ruled the family through his brother and son. His son, John Jr., Was indicted in 1998 for racketeering, and he was the family’s acting boss.

John Gotti asked him to plead not guilty and fight the case, but John Jr. went against Gotti and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison and was released in 2006. 

Victoria DiGiorgio forced John Gotti to let John Jr. Leave the family business lest she left him, and John Jr. said he left the family business after his imprisonment.

While John Jr. Was in prison, Peter Gotti took over as the head of the family business, and most people believe he is now in charge. 

John Gotti’s Death and Legacy

John Gotti was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 while at the United States Penitentiary, and he was subsequently taken to the Medical Center. He got surgery, and the tumor was removed from his throat, but like in most cases of cancer, it returned two years later. 

After this, he was taken back to Springfield, where he lived until he succumbed to his illness on June 10th, 2002. 

He was 61 years old when he passed and was a Catholic, but the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn wouldn’t allow a Requiem Mass for him because of his life choices. 

They let him have a memorial mass after the burial, and he was buried following Christian beliefs even though the funeral was not held in a church facility. More than 300 onlookers followed his funeral procession through Gotti’s Bergin Hunt to the grave.

John Gotti was buried in a crypt with his son Frank, and his brother didn’t attend the funeral because he was also in prison at the time. 

The other mob families in New York refused to send representatives to the funeral as a show of their rejection of John Gotti’s legacy.

Gotti had killed many people on his road to taking power, and this had left the Gambino family in shambles. Most of the men loyal to the family were dead or in prison, so the other families were not the biggest of John Gotti’s fans.


For those wondering, How did John Gotti die? You now know it wasn’t a typical mobster death with an assassination or gunshot. 

John Gotti succumbed to throat cancer while in prison, and that ended his long career as the head of a crime family in New York.

During his time,  John Gotti was responsible for several murders along with many other crimes, and law enforcement agencies had a hard time imprisoning him. 

One of his people eventually turned on him, leading to his demise, and his brother is presumed to be the current boss.


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