death certificate details
By Cathy Scott
LAS VEGAS SUN
Reporter Cathy Scott has authored a book on the murder of
Tupac Shakur. Here in an exclusive and copyrighted account, she details
the coroner's report and death certificate.
No one followed the mortuary van carrying Tupac Shakur's body from
the hospital to the morgue. The van drove three blocks without being
An autopsy was done the evening of Sept. 13, 1996, almost immediately
following his death, according to authorities.
While the autopsy report is not deemed by Nevada state law to be
public information, the coroner's report is available to the public.
However, after I bought a copy for $5, an office employee later said it
had been given to me in error, and that they would not be releasing it
to anyone because of the ongoing homicide investigation. To my
knowledge, I am the only reporter to have a copy of that report. Six
35-millimeter photos taken during and after the autopsy are on file at
the coroner's office, along with the autopsy report.
According to statements on the four-page coroner's report, Tupac
Shakur's remains were positively identified by his mother, Afeni Shakur.
The autopsy determined that Tupac didn't have any illegal drugs in his
system. He was, however, heavily sedated during his hospital stay, it
He had been shot in his right hand, right hip and right chest just
under his right arm.
"I interviewed the decedent's mother, Afeni Shakur, and she stated
that the decedent was not married and he had no children," coroner
Investigator Ed Brown wrote in his report. "She stated that Tupac A.
Shakur was his name. She was not able to give any more information than
After Tupac's arrival at University Medical Center immediately
following the shooting, a trauma center surgeon removed one bullet from
Tupac's pelvis area.
In a conversation with Ed Brown at the hospital following Tupac's
death, the surgeon told Brown that Tupac's injuries included a gunshot
wound to his right chest with a "massive hemothorax" and a gunshot wound
to the right thigh with "the bullet palpable within the abdomen." Tupac
also had a gunshot wound to a right finger with a fracture. The
preoperative diagnosis was a gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen and
The one bullet remaining in Tupac's chest was not removed during
surgery, but during the autopsy, Coroner Ron Flud told me. It then
became evidence, he said.
When Tupac arrived at the hospital's trauma center, he was wheeled
into the recovery area and "was resuscitated according to advanced
trauma life support protocol," the report said, and "a full trauma
activation was called."
He was placed on life support machines. Two liters of blood that had
hemorrhaged into his chest cavity were removed. His pulse was "very
thready and initially he had a minimal blood pressure, which rapidly
declined." He was taken immediately to the operating room for operative
intervention and further resuscitation. His right lung was removed.
The report states that Shakur underwent two operations. The first
started at 6:25 p.m. on Sept. 8 and lasted an hour. The surgery
"consisted of exploratory" procedures. The surgeon noted that it
appeared Tupac had had some prior surgery for bullet wounds on his upper
right chest area.
The second operation at University Medical Center consisted of "ligation
of bleeding" and removal of a bullet from his pelvic area. It was done
at midnight on Sept. 8 and completed at 2:35 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Tupac was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. Sept. 13 Dr. James Lovett at
University Medical Center. Clark County Coroner Investigator Ed Brown
was called to the hospital at 4:15 p.m.
"Upon my arrival ... I found no apparent life signs, and trauma was
observed to the right hand, right hip and right chest under the right
arm, apparently caused from gunshots.''
Death certificate details
In February 1997, SUN reporter Cathy Scott went to the Clark County
Office of Vital Statistics and viewed Tupac Shakur's death certificate.
The only copy released was to his mother, Afeni Shakur. The original is
on file with the county.
It's against Nevada Revised Statute to forge or sign a public
document, including death certificates. The death certificate acts as
the official notice of death. It includes the following:
- Tupac Amaru Shakur was pronounced dead by Dr. Lovett at 4:03 p.m.
on Friday, Sept. 13, 1996, at University Medical Center's Intensive
- The one-page death certificate was filed with Clark County's vital
records section by County Coroner Ron Flud on Sept. 18, 1996. Dr. Ed
Brown with Coroner's office signed the certificate.
- His mother, Afeni Shakur, made a positive identification of his
body at 5 p.m. at the hospital. His body was then taken by Davis
Mortuary to the morgue, three blocks away. An autopsy was performed
and the official cause of death was respiratory failure and
cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds.
- Shakur's occupation was listed as "rap singer" and the company he
worked for was shown as "Euphanasia" in Los Angeles, Calif.
- A county seal was stamped on the certificate, making it an