Warren Jeffs
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. REUTERS

Warren Jeffs, the polygamist sect leader convicted of raping minors, is in critical condition at a Texas hospital and may not survive , ABC News reported, citing a source close to him.

The report said Jeffs was rushed to hospital Sunday after he went on a fast for three days and became weak, and doctors induced a coma. Jeffs, who is the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon splinter group, was admitted to the East Texas Medical Center in Tyler.

Jeffs has not been eating and taking in fluids as he should, the Salt Lake Tribune reported, citing prison spokesman Jason Clark.

The Texas Department of Corrections confirmed that Jeffs was on temporary medical release, but gave no further details.

Earlier this month, a Texas jury convicted Jeffs of child sexual assault, ending a case that sprang open when his compound was raided and more than 450 children were taken by the police in 2008.

The jury handed down Jeffs a sentence of life in prison plus 20 years, bringing to an end the trial of the controversial religious leader.

Jeffs was convicted of aggravated sexual abuse. Prosecutors convinced jury that Jeffs, 55, fathered a child with a 15-year-old and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old, both of whom he took as spiritual wives.

One of the most damning pieces of evidence was an audio recording of what the prosecution alleged was Jeffs sexually assaulting one of the young girls. Jeffs now faces 119 years behind bars.

Jeffs became the leader of FLDS when his father died in 2002. The organization has about 10,000 followers.