What happened to John Gotti? The mob boss from Netflix's Get Gotti

As the infamous gangster becomes the subject of a new Netflix docuseries, viewers want to know where John Gotti is now

A photo of John Gotti
(Image credit: Netflix)

New Netflix show Get Gotti has viewers wondering what happened to John Gotti, the Mafia boss who ran one of America's most recognisable crime families.  

Told from both sides of the law, this new docuseries from the makers of Fear City follows the FBI's battle to bring down infamous mob boss John Gotti, who once led one of the most powerful crime syndicates in America. Gotti was distinctive because, unlike other Mafia leaders, he revelled in media attention and would often pose for newspaper photos, and this reputation led to his portrayal in several movies and TV series, including 2018's Gotti, which featured John Travolta in the titular role.

Recent Netflix documentaries have left viewers wondering where Vjeran Tomic is now - the thief who pulled off the biggest art heist in French history. Some wondered about the whereabouts of Griselda Blanco's children now, and what happened to her three husbands, after being gripped by true-crime series, Griselda.  Viewers are asking similar questions of John Gotti, following the streaming service's release of the documentary about him...

What happened to John Gotti?

In 1992, John Gotti was convicted of five murders along with several other offences, and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was jailed after his second in command, Salvatore 'Sammy the Bull' Gravano, agreed to testify against him in court. 

Gravano made the decision to betray the mob leader after hearing Gotti make disparaging remarks about him on an FBI wiretap, which implicated both himself and Gravano in several murders. 

A mugshot of John Gotti from 1990

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This led to Gotti being convicted of murder alongside conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering (making money from illegal activities), obstruction of justice, tax evasion, illegal gambling, extortion, and loansharking. 

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and from 1992 until 2000, John Gotti was kept in virtual solitary confinement, restricted to his cell except for an hour of daily exercise. Gotti remained in prison until his death in 2002. 

How did John Gotti die?

John Gotti died of throat cancer on June 10, 2002, at the age of 61. He was diagnosed in 1998 while imprisoned in USP Marion, Illinois.

That same year, he was transferred to the federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri, and was operated on in order to remove the tumour. 

He was reportedly readmitted to the hospital several times for treatment following the operation, before making his final visit to the facility two years later, where he spent the remainder of his life. 

What did John Gotti do?

John Gotti was an infamous American gangster and the boss of a Mafia group known as the Gambino crime family. The Gambino crime family was one of the original Five Families of New York - the five major Italian-American Mafia families in the city - and for decades was the most powerful and profitable.

During his adolescence, Gotti skipped school and became involved with New York street gangs at the age of 12, going on to drop out of school at 16. After leaving school, Gotti became involved with the Mafia-associated Fulton-Rockaway Boys gang.

A black and white photo of John Gotti on the streets of New York

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gotti eventually became part of the Gambino family and worked his way up the ranks, though he served several jail sentences during his time in the gang. In 1985, Gotti helped to orchestrate the murder of the head of the Gambino crime family, Paul Castellano, in order to replace him as the boss of the Gambino clan.

By this time, John Gotti was already on the police's radar, and he was arrested and charged multiple times. However, many charges failed to stick, which earned the crime boss the nickname the 'Teflon Don'.

Is the Gambino family still active?

It is believed that the Gambino family is still active, though it is no longer controlled by the Gotti's. 

John Gotti's son, John Gotti III, took control of the Gambino family after his father went to prison, before eventually being convicted of racketeering in 1998 and sentenced to six years in prison. He was again arrested and charged with murder and racketeering in Florida in 2008, but the case ended in a mistrial. After his sentence, he reportedly left the criminal life behind and has become an entrepreneur and writer.

John Gotti Jr.’s brother Peter Gotti then took over as Gambino family boss in 2002, but he was in power for only a year before being arrested and convicted of racketeering.

To find out what happened to other documentary figures who spent time behind bars, we've revealed where Ian Huntley is now, following the arrival of Maxine on Netflix, and where Alex Murdaugh is too, following season two of The Murdaugh Murders. 

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.