The son of poor Italian immigrants struggling for a better life in early 20th-century New York, Capone chose a life of crime as a means of advancing his place in the world. His success brought him fabulous wealth and fame. His criminal deeds made him many enemies among law enforcement officers, politicians, and fellow criminals. Yet ultimately, Capone's downfall was his own misdeeds. Following a lengthy prison term, he died at age 48 from complications of syphilis. In his short life, Capone had become America's most feared criminal, and after his death, his legend cast an even greater shadow.