Sad news: Malcolm X’s youngest daughter, Malikah Shabazz, died on Monday, CNN reported. She was 56.
According to the CNN report, Shabazz’s daughter found her unresponsive at her Brooklyn home; she was later pronounced dead. Authorities say they don’t suspect foul play.
Tributes poured in on social media Tuesday morning.
Shabazz’ death comes less than a week after the exoneration of two men who were convicted and served decades in prison for the assassination of her father in 1965. Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam — who is already dead—had their convictions tossed by a New York Supreme Court administrative judge on Nov. 18, the result of a 22-month investigation of their innocence.
Meanwhile, Mujahid Abdul Halim, who confessed to the killing and has maintained since the beginning Aziz and Islam weren’t involved, was released from prison eleven years ago.
Malcolm X, of course, is perhaps the only other figurehead of the 1960s civil rights movement who loomed as large as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was born as Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb., in 1925, and incarcerated for petty crimes in Massachusetts in his 20s. He left prison converted to Islam, joining the Nation of Islam and rising to become its most visible leader before breaking from the group before his assassination.
Since his death — which has always been the subject of speculation about possible involvement from law enforcement—Malcolm X’s influence has grown. Spike Lee made a critically acclaimed biopic that starred Denzel Washington and he’s remained a fixture in pop culture, characterized in Epix’ drama “Godfather of Harlem” about the 1960s’s Harlem gangster Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson and in the 2020 film “One Night in Miami”, directed by Regina King.
Malikah Shabazz’s death is the most recent tragedy to strike the family of the late Black liberation leader. In 2013, grandson Malcolm Shabazz was beaten to death at age 28 in Mexico City after an argument over a bar tab, according to USA Today. In 1997, when he was 12, Malcolm Shabazz started a fire that led to the death of Betty Shabazz, his grandmother and Malcolm X’s widow. She was 61.