Gein was regarded as a model patient during his incarceration, and died of cancer on 26 July 1984. He was buried next to his mother, in the same cemetery that had provided him so much pleasure in life. Fittingly, vandals desecrated his grave.
The American public viewed Ed Gein as the quintessential product of a disturbed childhood, and his persona was forever immortalised in the film “Psycho”, in which Norman Bates murders women out of loyalty to his domineering mother. The character of Leatherface, in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, also pays homage to Gein, where the killer wears a mask made of human skin.
More recently, his character appears in the chilling tale of the transvestite serial killer Buffalo Bill, who murders women for their skin, and then dresses in it, in 'The Silence of the Lambs'.