The quest for absolute freedom killed William Garrison.

The 60-year-old Michigan prisoner died Monday from COVID-19 complications after turning down parole earlier this year, officials said according to The Associated Press.

Garrison, who spent nearly 44 years behind bars, could have left prison on parole weeks ago. However, he opted to wait until September, when he would be eligible for a full release without the shackles of parole supervision, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

Garrison, one of 17 Michigan prisoners who have died from COVID-19, according to the state’s Corrections Department, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man during a 1976 robbery when he was 16 years old.

His sentence was reduced to 40 years in January as a result of U.S. Supreme Court decisions making juvenile lifers eligible for release. The parole board approved his application in March.