(CNN)The Khmer Rouge commander who oversaw the deaths of thousands of people during the Cambodian genocide, and who was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity, has died at age 77.
Khmer Rouge executioner 'Comrade Duch' who oversaw notorious torture prison dies age 77
Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known by his alias, Comrade Duch, died just after midnight on Wednesday at a hospital in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, according to a spokesperson for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Neth Pheaktra, who made the announcement on Twitter.
Duch was a senior figure in Pol Pot's tyrannical communist regime and ran the notorious Tuol Sleng S-21 torture prison in Phnom Penh, where at least 14,000 people died.
At least 1.7 million people -- nearly a quarter of Cambodia's population -- died from execution, disease, starvation and forced labor under the Khmer Rouge regime that ruled the country between 1975-1979.
Many of those killed were intellectuals or trained professionals -- people considered counter-revolutionaries by the Khmer Rouge leadership bent on turning Cambodia into a purely agrarian society through ruthless social engineering policies.