Afeni Shakur Davis, a political activist perhaps best known to the public as the mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, died Monday night following reports that she suffered a cardiac arrest in her Sausalito, California home. She was 69 years old.
According to a spokesperson with the Marin County Sheriff's Department, deputies were called to Davis' home around 9:30 Monday night. She was transported to an area hospital, and was declared dead at 10:28 p.m.
The Marin County Sheriff’s Coroners Office will lead an investigation to determine the exact cause of death, the spokesperson said.
Sheriff's Coroners Office will lead investigation to determine exact cause & manner of Afeni Shakur's death.— Marin County Sheriff (@MarinSheriff) May 3, 2016
Born Alice Faye Williams in 1947, Davis changed her name when she joined the Black Panthers in the early years of the movement. According to the New York Daily News, in 1969 Davis and several other members of the Black Panthers were imprisoned in New York for a conspiracy to "bomb multiple, busy city landmarks." Davis successfully represented herself in court and had her case acquitted in May 1971, shortly before Shakur was born.
After leaving New York, the family eventually settled in the Bay Area. In his youth, Shakur lived in Marin City's public housing projects and attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, before rising to fame with the East Bay-based Digital Underground.
Davis was the subject of Shakur's 1995 hit “Dear Mama,” and her work as an activist was frrequently cited as an inspiration by her son.
The following year, Shakur was killed at age 25 when shot by an unknown suspect as he rode in a car on the Las Vegas strip. After his death, Davis founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation in his honor and managed the late rapper's estate, which has been estimated to earn between as much as a million dollars a year. Most recently, Davis had greenlit Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me , in which The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira portrayed Davis. Shooting on the film reportedly wrapped this week.
TMZ reports that Davis recently separated from her husband of 12 years, Gust Davis. According to a Marin County Sheriff's Department spokesperson, more information on her death is expected to be released on Thursday, if not before.