Afeni Shakur Davis, longtime activist and the mother of hip hop legend Tupac Shakur, died Monday night. She was 69.
According to reports, sheriffs responded to a call of a possible cardiac arrest at Shakur’s Sausalto, Calif. home just after 9:30 p.m., and she was pronounced dead at a local hospital an hour later.
The coroners office will take over the investigation to find out the exact cause of Shakur’s death.
Throughout her life Shakur was a philanthropist and activist. She joined the Black Panther Party in 1964, explaining the Panthers “took my rage and channeled it. They educated my mind and gave me direction.”
During her time with the Panthers, Shakur was arrested several times, and in 1969 she was picked up along with 20 of her fellow Panthers and charged with conspiracy to bomb police stations and other public places in New York City. Against the objections of her co-defendants, Shakur represented herself and won her freedom in May 1971. The following month, she gave birth to her son, Tupac Amaru Shakur.
Tupac was extremely close to his mother and referenced her throughout his career. One of his seminal hits, Dear Mama, was a love letter to his mother and it’s still hailed as one of the most introspective rap songs ever.
After Tupac was murdered in 1996, Shakur made it her mission to keep her son’s legacy alive. In 1997 she founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Georgia, which provided art, dance, writing classes, and cross cultural exchanges for young people. She also produced a Broadway musical, “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” about his life and is an executive producer on the upcoming Tupac biopic, All Eyez On Me.