It was 23 years ago today that Tupac Shakur died after being gunned down in a drive-by shooting.
Aged just 25, he was shot four times – twice in the chest, once in the arm and once in the thigh – as he pulled up outside Las Vegas’ Club 662 in a black BMW owned by Death Row Records boss Suge Knight.
He clung onto life for six days after the attack, with his entourage maintaining a round-the-clock vigil in case his attackers returned to finish the job.
But that week in hospital is as shrouded in mystery as the murder itself, with conflicting reports claiming he was unconscious the entire time, and others stating he was laughing and joking with pals shortly before his death.
And fans reckon there are way too many holes in the story, with many convinced Tupac faked his own death.
According to the first officer who arrived at the scene, Chris Carroll, a retired sergeant with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Tupac lost consciousness after he pulled him from the car.
“I kept asking over and over, ‘Who did this? Who shot you?’ And he basically kept ignoring me,” Carroll recalled.
“And then all of a sudden in the snap of a finger, he changed. And he went from struggling to speak, being non cooperative, to an ‘I’m at peace’ type of thing. And that’s when I looked at him and said one more time, ‘Who shot you?’
“He looked at me and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth, and I thought I was actually going to get some cooperation. And then the words came out: ‘F*** you.’
“After that, he started gurgling and slipping out of consciousness. At that point, an ambulance showed up, and he went into unconsciousness.”
Carroll rode with him in the ambulance to the University Medical Centre of Southern Nevada, but said he never woke up.
However, Death Row Records boss Suge contradicted that, insisting Tupac was in fine fettle.
“I mean, when I left that hospital, me and Pac were laughing and joking,” he told documentary Who Shot Biggie & Tupac.
Hinting that perhaps he didn’t die after all, he continued: “So I don’t see how somebody can turn from doing well, to doing bad.”
Asked if he thinks the rapper could still be alive, he replied, “I’m gonna tell you that with Pac, you never know.”
Tupac’s finacee Kidada Jones also said Tupac woke up – but only briefly when she played Don McLean’s Vincent on a CD player next to his bed.
Describing how his eyes were swollen and filled with mucus, she told Vanity Fair she heard him moan and saw his eyes open.
“If you can hear me, move your feet,” she told him before the sheets started rustling at the bottom of the bed.
“Do you know I love you? Do you know we all love you?” she said before he nodded.
He eventually died on September 13, 1996, suffering respiratory failure and cardiac arrest after having a lung removed.