Malikah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X’s youngest daughters, was discovered dead in her New York apartment on Monday, Nov. 22. Her death is felt across Black America, as many have watched her family struggle for years to come to terms with the loss of her renowned father.
Shabazz’s 23-year-old daughter discovered mom in her Brooklyn apartment, unresponsive. The 56-year-old looks to have died of natural causes, according to the NYPD, though this has yet to be confirmed by a medical examiner.
According to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, Shabazz had a pre-existing illness that may have contributed to her death.
“At this point in time, working with other authorities, the medical examiner, and speaking to the family, she had been ill for a period of time, and at this moment, nothing appears suspicious,” he tells The Guardian after speaking with individuals close to Shabazz.
When her father, who had formally changed his name to El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, was slain in 1965, Shabazz was not present. Her mother, the late Dr. Betty Shabazz, was pregnant with her and her twin sister, Malaak, when their father was killed. Her other died in an apartment fire in 1997. As a testament to their father’s life, the two were given his name.
Bernice King, a fellow daughter of the movement, as the Shabazz and King children have been nicknamed, sent her tribute on Twitter.
“I’m terribly grieved by the passing of #MalikahShabazz,” she said besides a personal photo of Shabazz, her mother, and twin. My heart breaks for her family, the descendants of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz. When Brother Malcolm was slain, Dr. Shabazz was pregnant with Malikah and her twin sister, Malaak. Malikah, be at ease.”
I’m deeply saddened by the death of #MalikahShabazz. My heart goes out to her family, the descendants of Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X. Dr. Shabazz was pregnant with Malikah and her twin sister, Malaak, when Brother Malcolm was assassinated. Be at peace, Malikah
This comes just days after two men were found not guilty of her father’s death. The Innocence Project and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. collaborated to clear the names of Muhammad Aziz, 83, and Khalil Islam, who died in 2009.
Her family has not issued a public comment regarding her sudden death.