KILLER doctor Harold Shipman died in a prison cell in Wakefield today.
The man dubbed Dr Death - who became Britain's most notorious serial killer - is thought to have hanged himself early this morning.
Shipman, from Hyde, Greater Manchester, was found hanging in his cell at the top-security Wakefield Prison at 6.20am and despite the efforts of staff who immediately attempted resuscitation, he was pronounced dead by a doctor at 8.10am.
Shipman was serving life for the murders of 15 patients but police and health officials believe he could have murdered at least 215 people over the years.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said: "We can confirm the death of Harold Shipman at HMP Wakefield.
"Since arriving at Wakefield on June 18 2003, Shipman had never been on a suicide watch and was on normal location and following a normal regime.
"The family have been informed and the Prison Service will be conducting an investigation into the death as we do with all deaths in custody.
"The coroner has been informed."
Shipman, who would have been 58 tomorrow, was jailed for life at Preston Crown Court in January 2000 for murdering 15 patients while he was a GP in Hyde.
An inquiry found he killed at least 215 people in Hyde and Todmorden over a 23-year period.
Last month it emerged that the serial killer had been stripped of his privileges at Wakefield because of poor behaviour.
The former GP had his prisoner status reduced from "enhanced" to "basic" for general non-compliance with staff, a prison source said.
The television in his cell was removed and he had to wear prison uniform instead of casual clothes.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said Shipman hanged himself using bed sheets as a ligature from the window bars in his cell.
He had briefly been on suicide watch earlier in his sentence at HMP Manchester and on being moved to HMP Frankland in February 2000, but never at Wakefield.
"He was showing no signs whatsoever of pre-suicidal behaviour," said the spokeswoman.
"He was behaving utterly normally.
"He was working as normal and doing education as normal.
"There was absolutely no indication that this was coming and he was giving no cause for concern."
Shipman had been in a cell on his own during his time at both Frankland and Wakefield jails, the Prison Service said.
Shipman was planning an appeal against his conviction for 15 murders before he was found hanging in his cell, his solicitor said today.
Giovanni di Stefano expressed his surprise that Shipman, "who at last had a chance" to appeal, "suddenly commits suicide - a day before his birthday."
Prisons Minister Paul Goggins said the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will carry out an investigation into Shipman's death even though he is not due to take formal responsibility for inquiries until April.