Jhon Jairo Velásquez, also known as Popeye, has died at the National Cancer Institute in Bogotá, Colombia, at the age of 57.
Velazquez was one of Pablo Escobar’s main hitmen in the Medallin Cartel, and is directly responsible for hundreds of deaths – indeed he admitted personally killing over 250 people for Escobar during the Cartel boss’ reign in the eighties and early nineties. He reportedly assisted in the killing of around 3000 people, and was the protagonist behind hundreds of car bombs during the cartel’s war with rivals and authorities. He was also responsible for several kidnappings. A commercial plane was also the target of a bombing in which he was involved – 107 people were killed on board and three people on the ground.
In 1992, Velásquez was convicted on charges of terrorism, drug trafficking, extortion, conspiracy for terrorist purposes and murder. However, despite his crimes, the maximum sentence in Colombia at the time of his conviction was thirty years.
After his release in 2014, he has written a book entitled Surviving Pablo Escobar, and he became somewhat of an internet personality, with his YouTube channel currently boasting well over one million subscribers.
Velásquez was admitted to hospital in December, 2019, and was transferred for health reasons from the maximum-security prison of Valledupar to La Picota prison in Bogotá. He was suffering from cancer of the oesophagus, which had reportedly spread to his lungs, liver and other organs. He died in the early hours of this morning, February 6, 2020.
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