Legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur died on this day – 13th September in 1996 – 23 years ago today.
Tupac Shakur, born Lesane Parish Crooks, (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest rappers of all time.
Much of Shakur’s work has been noted for addressing contemporary social issues that plagued inner cities, and he is considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality.
Tupac Amaru Shakur was born on June 16, 1971, into an African-American family in the East Harlem section of Manhattan in New York City. His birth name was Lesane Parish Crooks. Lesane was born a month after his mother was acquitted of more than 150 charges of “Conspiracy against the United States government and New York landmarks” in the New York Panther 21 trial. His parents, Afeni Shakur (born Alice Faye Williams in North Carolina) and Billy Garland, were active members of the Black Panther Party in New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
At one year old, his mother renamed him after Túpac Amaru II, the 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary who was executed after leading an indigenous uprising against Spanish rule. “Tupac” derives from Quechua “Thupaq”, meaning “Royal”.
On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur was in Las Vegas, Nevada to celebrate his business partner Tracy Danielle Robinson’s birthday and attended the Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson boxing match with Suge Knight at the MGM Grand. After leaving the match, one of Knight’s associates spotted Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, an alleged Crips gang member from Compton, California, in the MGM Grand lobby.
Earlier that year, Anderson and a group of Crips had robbed a member of Death Row’s entourage in a Foot Locker store. Knight’s associate told Shakur, who attacked Anderson, assisted by his and Knight’s entourage. The fight was captured on the hotel’s video surveillance. After the brawl, Shakur went with Knight to Death Row–owned Club 662. Shakur rode in Knight’s 1996 black BMW 750iL sedan as part of a larger convoy.
At 11:00–11:05 p.m. (PDT), they were halted on Las Vegas Boulevard by Metro bicycle police for playing the car stereo too loudly and not having license plates. These were found in the trunk of Knight’s car and the party was released without being ticketed. At 11:15 p.m. (PDT), when they were at a stop light, a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac with unknown occupants pulled up to the right side of Shakur’s sedan. Someone inside rapidly fired gunshots at Shakur. He was hit four times, twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh. One of the bullets went into Shakur’s right lung. Knight was hit in the head by fragmentation. Shakur’s bodyguard, Frank Alexander, was not in the vehicle; he said that Shakur had asked him to drive the car of Shakur’s girlfriend, Kidada Jones. After arriving at the scene, police and paramedics took Knight and the wounded Shakur to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. According to an interview with music video director Gobi, while at the hospital, Shakur received news from a Death Row marketing employee that the shooters had called the record company and threatened Shakur.
Gobi informed the Las Vegas police but said that the police claimed to be understaffed. No attackers came. At the hospital, Shakur was heavily sedated, placed on life-support machines, and ultimately was put under a barbiturate-induced coma to keep him in the bed. While in the intensive-care unit, on the afternoon of September 13, 1996, Shakur died from internal bleeding. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. (PDT). The official causes of death were noted as respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds.
Shakur’s body was cremated the next day.
Some of his ashes were purportedly later mixed with marijuana and smoked by members of the Outlawz. However, E.D.I. Mean claimed in a 2014 interview that the ashes did not belong to Shakur.