Ivan Milat, the man considered to be the most notorious serial killer in Australian history, died in prison early Sunday morning at the age of 74. Milat was being held at Long Bay Hospital in Sydney while receiving chemotherapy treatment for stomach cancer. He was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. local time, the Guardian reports.

Milat committed his crimes in the 1990s, murdering seven young backpackers while making a living as a road worker. His victims were later found buried in makeshift graves in Belanglo State Forest, a park located in the state of New South Wales. Milat was sentenced to serve seven consecutive life sentences in 1996.

Milat’s victims were found between September 1992 and November 1993, covered in leaves and branches. They included Deborah Everist, 19, and James Gibson, 19, a couple from Melbourne; Simone Schmidl, 21, a traveler from Germany; Anja Habschied, 20, and Gabor Neugebauer, 21, a couple from Germany; and, friends Joanne Walters, 22, and Caroline Clarke, 21, from England.

The victims were found to have been subjected to horrific violent acts. One was found decapitated. Another had been shot 10 times in the head. Several were suspected to have also been sexually assaulted.

Milat has also been linked to several other young travelers who went missing near areas where he worked. Previously, in 1974, he was cleared of raping a hitchhiker he picked up near the area where his later victims would be found.

“These seven young persons were at the threshold of their lives, with everything to look forward to – travel, career, happiness, love, family, and even old age,” said Justice David Hunt, who sentenced Milat in 1996. “It is clear that they were subjected to behavior which, for callous indifference to suffering and complete disregard of humanity, is almost beyond belief.”

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