Tupac Shakur's mom died at 69 after her troubled past was revealed in one of the late rapper's hits
Tupac Shakur and his mother Afeni Shakur had a very close relationship that was depicted in his 1995 hit song, "Dear Mama." Afeni died five years ago on May 2, 2013, at the age of 69.
Before his death, rapper Tupac Shakur was one of the greatest rappers alive. A Rap and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the artist, sold a staggering 75 million records before he died from bullet wounds from a shooting in 1996.
Known for his inspirational and emotional lyrics, all of his songwriting skills were on show in his 1995 tribute to his mother, "Dear Mama." The rapper and his mother were quite close before his death as she raised Tupac and his sibling on her own.
Afeni Shakur became a role model for black women after her son’s death. She was involved in projects such as the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and The Tupac Shakur Centre for Arts.
But long before all of the fame, Afeni Shakur was a black woman struggling to make meet ends, raise two kids and handle her addictions.
In the song, Tupac revealed that his mother raised him single-handedly on welfare checks as she couldn’t get a job due to her involvement with the Black Panther party. That wasn’t all; he revealed that he moved out of the house at the age of 17 because he had various issues with his mother that stemmed from her addiction to drugs.
Talking to People magazine after the death of her son, Afeni revealed that she was a cocaine addict while her son was a child, but at some point, she became a responsible mother. "Pac was special,” she said. “He was articulate. I trained him. Punishment for him was reading The New York Times.”
However, the peace didn't last long. By the time Tupac was in high school, Afeni had started smoking crack, "There was no stability,” she recalled. “I was smoking and screwing up my life."
Soon after, Tupac left his home and moved to Oakland, where he started to work his way up in the hip-hop industry. Afeni was so deep into her addiction that she didn’t know what was happening in her children’s lives.
After someone told her Tupac had made an appearance on the Arsenio Hall show in 1990, she decided it was time to get her life together. Afeni moved to New York, where she started to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings. By the end of 1991, she was sober and reconciled with Tupac.
The two remained close until he was killed.
Afeni passed away in 2016 after a heart attack. She's remembered for her hard work as an activist and for keeping her son's legacy alive.