Afeni Shakur Davis, the mother of late rap legend Tupac Shakur, died on Monday, May 2. She was 69.
According to the New York Daily News, police responded to Davis' home in Sausalito, California, on Monday, after she had reportedly suffered from cardiac arrest. Police said on Tuesday, May 3, that she was rushed to the hospital, where she passed away shortly before 10:30 p.m. local time.
Davis welcomed her son, Tupac, in June 1971. She was an activist and a member of the Black Panther Party, which heavily influenced Tupac’s politically-charged music throughout his career. Davis and her son remained close throughout his upbringing in East Harlem, NYC, and the rapper even dedicated his 1995 hit, "Dear Mama," from his third studio album, Me Against the World, to his mom. The song eventually landed at No. 9 on the Billboard Top 100 chart.
"There's no way I can pay you back," he rapped in the song. "But the plan is to show you that I understand / You are appreciated."
A year later, he was murdered at age 25 in a contested Las Vegas shooting. After her son's death, Davis took it upon herself to look over her son's legacy. She also engaged in a bitter battle with Tupac's biological father to keep a hold over his estate and assets.
After her death, stars such as Tyrese took to social media on Tuesday to remember Davis.
One of the most sincere mothers I've ever known........ Your son was on your mind and prayers everyday thank you for giving birth to Hip Hop thank you everything you stood for....... You embraced me and my daughter - sending love to my sisters and family I'm in the Middle East Qatar and my heart hurts from here....
In a memorable interview with Howard Stern last June, Tupac's close friend, Jada Pinkett Smith, reflected on their humble upbringings. The two attended arts school together when they were teens. "I've had never in my life met a person like Pac. He had so much charisma. And he was poor," Will Smith's wife noted of the Harlem native. "When I met Pac, he owned two pairs of pants and two sweaters ... He used to tell me all the time. He was like, 'Jada, you're a superstar.' He didn't say it about himself."
Though the two had a falling out — Pinkett Smith didn't agree with the direction in which he was headed as he rose to fame — the actress said his sudden death taught her one invaluable lesson. "Which is life is too short. Do not let disagreements stand in between you and people that you love," she said. "I love him. You know what? He left a very strong and powerful mark. People are still inspired by him. So he did his work."
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