It’s with great sadness we report today that Afeni Shakur, lifelong activist and mother to Tupac, has passed at the age of 69. According to reports from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, Shakur suffered a heart attack late last night at her home in Sausalito, California. Deputies responded to a report of possible cardiac arrest, arriving at her home at 9;34 pm and transporting her to the hospital, where was pronounced dead less than one hour later, at 10;28. The world will of course remember her most for having brought one of hip-hop’s greatest talents into the world, serving as one of his greatest sources of inspiration and a relentless defender of her son’s legacy in the wake of his passing–that inspiration and their insoluble mother-son bond was immortalized for millions of hip-hop fans in the Tupac song “Dear Mama” (watch below). But that hardly scratches the surface of her contributions to the culture of hip-hop and American political discourse over the length of her days.
Shakur was the executor of Tupac’s estate, as well as the founder of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which in 2014, worked in tandem with Saul Williams to produce the Broadway musical Holler If You Hear Me and to this today, helping introduce an entirely new generation to one of the culture’s most profound poets. The tributes and salutes will copious over the days to come, but some have sent their love and admiration already. Jump back to read Eminem’s thoughtful handwritten letter to Afeni Shakur or read up on the very first time Shakur had met with the mother of another fallen legend, Violetta Wallace, mother of Biggie. It’s with broken hearts that we write these words: Rest In Power, Afeni.