Afeni Shakur, the former Black Panther who inspired the work of her son, rapper Tupac Shakur, died recently at Marin General. She was 69.
Shakur was aboard one of 4 floating homes she owned on West Pier with a family member and friend when she began experiencing physical discomfort, and collapsed, according to an obituary in the Marin IJ. Deputies and firefighters administered CPR at the scene and then rushed her to Marin General. Efforts were made to revive her but “she had in fact died from what is believed to be some kind of cardiac event,” Marin sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman said.
Born Alice Faye Williams, Shakur changed her name in the 1960s when she joined the Black Panther movement. She named her son Tupac Amaru, after the last Incan emperor, who refused to surrender to Spanish conquistadors. The family lived in Marin City for a time, and Tupac attended Tamalpais High School.
The rapper’s entourage was involved in a fight at a Marin City festival that led to the death of a 6-year-old boy. The killer has never been identified. Tupac Shakur died in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in 1996, at age 25. For the last two decades, Afeni Shakur focused on keeping her son’s legacy alive and managing his musical catalog.
West Pier resident Court Mast recalls Afeni Shakur as “a gentle soul who genuinely cared about everyone she came in contact with. She was quick to laugh and always had a kind word for everyone. She owned four boats on West Pier in which her family and close friends reside. She was a very private person, and West Pier residents respected that privacy.”