• Police do not suspect foul play in death of poet and activist • Friends say she committed suicide
Malikah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, has been found dead in her New York apartment, police say.
Shabazz, 56, who studied at Cambridge University and founded a Black Lives Matter-inspired online magazine, was found in her apartment on Tuesday morning and was pronounced dead at 9am at Kings County hospital, according to the New York City police department. The department did not say whether Shabazz took her own life.
Police said the medical examiner’s office would determine the cause of death.
Police said Shabazz’s body had been found by a friend at her Brooklyn apartment after she had not been seen for several days.
Witnesses say a man who had been staying at the apartment as a friend has been identified by police as 48-year-old John Shabazz, according to NBC News. John Shabazz could not be reached for comment.
A spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office said the cause of death was pending an investigation, adding that further information was available on Wednesday morning.
Malikah Shabazz graduated from Cambridge with a masters degree in Modern African and African-American studies and embarked on a career as a literary scholar, working with Columbia University on a program in African-American history and culture.
In 1997, Shabazz was convicted of negligent homicide after police said she ran a stop sign and hit and killed a man in Queens. Prosecutors had said she had been high on methamphetamine at the time. She was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in 1999.
She also made several appearances as a guest on CNN’s Sesame Street and discussed her father’s assassination. In 2013, she published a book titled Dear Mama, Dear Papa: Messages to My Dad, Malcolm X on receiving her father’s death certificate after he was assassinated in 1965.
She wrote a memoir, I Am Malcom X: Autobiography of My Mother, in 2010.
Friends and former colleagues paid tribute to her on Tuesday. Maya Angelou wrote: “She was wise beyond her years, and longer than her days. She lived a brave and full life, perhaps as a beacon for us all to follow. May she rest in peace.”
Tanya Hunt, a Harvard professor of African and African American studies, said in a statement that she had known Shabazz since 2009 and praised her “joyous spirit and her unflinching drive to reach out and uplift others as her father had done”.
“She was a beautiful soul who will be sorely missed. There was no greater pride for her than seeing her work positively influencing the lives of young people as evidenced by the many people she has worked with to make a difference in their communities.”
Kirstin Fitch, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, wrote: “The Muslim community stands united in mourning the tragic death of Malikah Shabazz, the daughter of the Muslim leader and civil rights icon Malcolm X.”
The slaying of Malcolm X by members of the Nation of Islam during a New York City street battle is considered the most significant racial killing in US history.