A man sentenced to life in prison for murdering three teens and burying their bodies in a basement died Friday, a day after he was found hanging from a twisted bed sheet in his jail cell, a hospital spokesman said.

Jail guards had found David Maust, 51, hanging in his cell early Thursday, about 10 minutes after they told him that he was going to transferred to a state prison later that day, sheriff's Cpl. Mike Higgins said.

Higgins said Maust used a bed sheet braided into a rope to hang himself.

He was taken to a hospital, where he died Friday morning, said St. Anthony Hospital spokesman Joe Dejanovic.

In a note found by the guards, Maust admitted to five killings.

"Maybe with my death the families and the people can go on with their lives and not waste energy wondering why I was still alive," he wrote in the seven-page note, released by the county prosecutor's office.

Maust pleaded last fall to killing Michael Dennis, 13, James Raganyi, 16, and Nicholas James, 19, whose bodies were found buried in his basement, and was sentenced to three consecutive life terms without the chance for parole in exchange for the state withdrawing all death penalty requests.

He had also served time in an Illinois prison for the 1981 murder of a 15-year-old boy before being released in 1999, and he was convicted of manslaughter while serving in the Army for the killing of a teenager in Germany.

The Lake County Sheriff's Department did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.