ariel castro
Ariel Castro, 53, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing for kidnapping, rape and murder in Cleveland, Ohio August 1, 2013. Reuters

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland kidnapper who was convicted of abducting three women and keeping them captive at his Ohio home for nearly a decade, was found hanging in his prison cell on Tuesday night, according to reports.

Ohio correction officials told the media that the 53-year-old Castro was found hanging in his cell at 9:20 p.m. local time at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio.

“He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals,” JoEllen Smith of the Ohio Department of Corrections said in a statement cited by the media.

Medical staff at the prison tried to resuscitate Castro, but he was pronounced dead at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center at 10:52 p.m., the statement added.

An investigation regarding the circumstances leading to Castro’s death has been launched.

Castro, who abducted three women separately between 2002 and 2004 when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old, was sentenced on Aug. 1 to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years for charges including kidnapping, murder and rape.