El Hajj Malcom Shabazz, Grandson of Malcolm X, Killed In Mexico
Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of political activist Malcolm X, died while traveling in Mexico, U.S. officials confirmed Friday. He was 28.
Two U.S. officials said Shabazz was killed Thursday morning in Mexico City. They did not provide additional details and they spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Shabazz family publicist Terrie Williams confirmed the death to The Associated Press. A statement from the family read: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved El Hajj Malcolm El Shabazz. To all who knew him, he offered kindness, encouragement and hope for a better tomorrow. Although his bright light and boundless potential are gone from this life, we are grateful that he now rests in peace in the arms of his grandparents and the safety of God. We will miss him.”
Labor activist Miguel Suarez said he was with Shabazz when his friend was beaten up during a dispute over a bill at a Mexico City bar.
Suarez, who was recently deported from the United States to Mexico, told the AP that they and several other people had gone to a bar near the downtown plaza that is home to Mexico City’s mariachis.
He said Friday the owner demanded they pay a $1,200 bill and a fight ensued. Suarez says he later found Shabazz injured outside the bar and took him to a hospital where he died on Thursday
Shabazz was born in 1984 to Qubilah Shabazz, one of six daughters of Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz. Qubilah was 4 years old when she saw her father shot to death as he delivered a speech in a Harlem ballroom in 1965.
In June 1997, Malcolm Shabazz, then 12, set a fire at his grandmother Betty Shabazz’s home. She died from severe burns, and he served four years in juvenile detention.
He later expressed regret for his actions, telling The New York Times in 2003 that he would sit on his jail cot and ask for a sign of forgiveness from his dead grandmother.
“I just wanted her to know I was sorry and I wanted to know she accepted my apology, that I didn’t mean it,” he said. “But I would get no response, and I really wanted that response.”
Shabazz also served time on a 2002 attempted robbery conviction, and was released in 2005. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to criminal mischief for smashing the window of a Yonkers doughnut shop.
In recent years, Shabazz said he was writing a memoir and traveling the United States to speak out against youth violence. On his Facebook profile, he said he was attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
He proudly embraced his grandfather’s legacy, describing himself on his Twitter page as “Grandson, name-sake and first male heir of the greatest revolutionary leader of the 20th century.”
The family of Malcolm Shabazz, 28, who was killed in Mexico on Thursday, May 9, has released an official statement regarding his tragic death:
We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved El Hajj Malcolm El Shabazz. To all who knew him, he offered kindness, encouragement and hope for a better tomorrow. Although his bright light and boundless potential are gone from this life, we are grateful that he now rests in peace in the arms of his grandparents and the safety of God. We will miss him.
With grateful hearts, we send sincerest appreciation to our supporters around the world for your tremendous outpouring of love and respect during our time of grief.
The Shabazz Family
The statement was released through Shabazz family friend, Terrie M. Williams, who was the first to break the devastating news to the world via social media:
I’m confirming, per US Embassy, on bhalf of family, the tragic death of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X.Statement frm family 2 come—
Terrie M. Williams (@TerrieWilliams) May 09, 2013
Shabazz family spiritual adviser, Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, told The Journal News.
“I was told by the family that they’re in the process of trying to get down to Mexico, so they can identify his remains and claim them,” said Imam Abdur-Rashid.
Imam Abdur-Rashid offered further insight into Shabazz, who has been off the radar of some people who are only aware of the more salacious details of his life:
“He’s really just a youngster, a very young man who was just struggling to get his life moving on a forward-looking track,” Abdur-Rashid said. “He was always concerned about forging his own path. I’m just sad that things turned out the way they did.”
“We’re just encouraging people to offer prayers for the family because that’s the most important thing in this initial moment,” he continued.