'Drugstore Cowboy' dies behind bars at Monroe prison

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by KING 5 News, Evening Magazine

KING5.com

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 24 at 10:40 AM

A man who's life was profiled in the Hollywood film "Drugstore Cowboy" died Friday at the Monroe Correctional Facility.

James Fogle, 75, died in the prison infirmary of probable malignant mesothelioma, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner.

Fogle was serving a 16-year sentence for robbing a Seattle pharmacy in 2011.

It was his most recent stint behind bars, after spending more than 50 years of his life in and out of jail for robbing pharmacies in order to feed his addiction.

While serving in the Walla Walla State Penitentiary, Fogle wrote about his own life, eventually catching the attention of Hollywood director Gus Van Sant.

The 1989 film "Drugstore Cowboy" starred Matt Dillon and won several awards.

In his later years, Fogle sounded remorseful about his life of crime.

"I think it started out as an addiction to wanting to be a criminal," he said in 2011. "There's a lot of things I probably should have done different."

While at Monroe, he was still known as the "Drugstore Cowboy," with the nickname taped to the back of his wheelchair.

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