Serial killer Charles Manson has been battling illness for months after being rushed from a California prison to a hospital.

"He's been getting treatment at that hospital for a while. I was told months ago they removed him from the prison for an undisclosed illness," a Corrections Department official told The New York Post on Wednesday.

"He's 82, man. He was the guy who said he's going to live forever, but I never believed it," the source added.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post and TMZ reported that Manson had been admitted to hospital suffering a serious illness caused by gastrointestinal problems.

The Post source confirmed reports Manson had been taken to a medical centre in Bakersfield, about 60 miles south of Corcoran state prison, where he was being held. A State corrections official has only confirmed that Manson is alive, and still assigned to the prison in Corcoran.

Manson is one of the most infamous figures in American criminal history. He led the 'Manson Family' cult in California in the late 1960s, indoctrinating followers into believing he was a god and it was their duty to spark apocalypse by provoking a race war.

In August 1969, followers attacked the home of actress Sharon Tate, murdering her and her unborn child, and four other people present in the property at the time.

The following evening, members of the 'family' broke into the home of couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, stabbing them to death and daubing slogans on the wall in blood.

Manson was convicted of masterminding the murders in 1971, and sentenced to death.

However the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment with possibility of parole after California abolished the death penalty in 1972. Manson's next parole hearing is scheduled for 2027, when he will be 92.