New York real estate heir Robert Durst has been taken to hospital with coronavirus just days after being sentenced in a two-decade-old murder case.

His lawyer Dick DeGuerin said he was notified that Durst was admitted after testing positive for Covid. He said Durst is on a ventilator but he had no other details about his condition.

The Los Angeles Superior Court said in a statement that it had been told someone present for the sentencing hearing for Durst on Thursday had tested positive.

“As a result, the court will follow health guidelines for assessing close contacts of the infected individual,” the statement read.

No additional Covid cases have been reported.

Robert Durst
Robert Durst was convicted last month of murdering Susan Berman in December 2000 (Myung J Chung/Los Angeles Times/AP)

Durst, 78, was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without a chance of parole for the murder of his best friend more than two decades ago.

Durst, who has numerous medical issues, sat in a wheelchair with a catatonic stare during much of the sentencing hearing.

He had been convicted in Los Angeles Superior Court last month of first-degree murder for shooting Susan Berman point-blank in the back of the head at her home in December 2000.

The killing had been a mystery that haunted family and friends for 15 years before Durst was arrested in 2015 following his unwise decision to participate in a documentary that unearthed new evidence and caught him in a stunning confession.

Mr DeGuerin said on Thursday that Durst will appeal.