By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Mobster Peter Gotti, brother of notorious Gambino crime boss John Gotti, has died in a North Carolina prison.

Prosecutors say the 81-year-old was the successor to his brother John.

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Peter Gotti was convicted of racketeering and other charges in 2003 and had been serving a 25-year sentence.

Officials say he died of natural causes.

Gotti had sought an early release, citing his poor health and his rejection of the gangster life, in an effort to avoid dying in prison. He served more than 17 years behind bars.

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John Gotti, who was known as both the “Dapper Don” because of his expensive suits and silvery swept-back hair, and the “Teflon Don” after a series of acquittals, was serving a life term for racketeering and murder when he died of cancer in 2002.

Peter Gotti had been sick for some time, suffering from thyroid problems, and was blind in one eye, said Lewis Kasman, a former mobster and close confidant of John Gotti.

Kasman recalled Peter Gotti, a former sanitation worker, as a “regular knockaround guy who didn’t let his title go to his head.” His kindness, however, made him ill-suited to lead the Gambino crime family, Kasman said.

“He was trying to do his brother’s bidding and he had a tough task,” he said. “A lot of the captains were very upset with him because he wasn’t a strong boss. The Lucchese family walked all over him.”

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSNewYork Team