Ron Galella, Getty Images
Ron Galella, Getty Images

1996: On Sept. 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur tragically passed away after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

Tupac's career run was the stuff of hip-hop dreams. The California MC started off as a dancer-hype man and became one of the genre's biggest stars in history. His signature style, brash don't-give-a-fuck attitude and honest, poetic lyrical delivery set him apart from his gangsta rap contemporaries at the time and he soon parlayed his talents into an acting career. It's no wonder 'Pac's interviews and live shows are so timeless.

'Pac knew how to command an audience. In his brief but historic time in the game, 'Pac dropped four albums and starred in eight films. Unfortunately, success doesn't come without enemies and Tupac, along with New York rapper Notorious B.I.G., was a centerpiece of the West Coast vs. East Coast rap feud of the late 1990s.

Tupac was shot on Sept. 7, 1996. He was hit outside the Las Vegas strip after attending the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon fight at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. ‘Pac had been riding in the passenger seat of a BMW sedan driven by Death Row CEO Suge Knight when a car pulled up to Knight’s sedan right side, rolled down a window, and rapidly fired gunshots at Shakur.

At around 4:03 p.m. on Sept. 13, Tupac was declared dead after his body started hemorrhaging blood and doctors were unable to stop the internal bleeding. His mother, Afeni, ordered the doctors to stop after blood loss became too severe and 'Pac was soon declared dead after living six days in a medically-induced coma. The official cause of death was noted after an autopsy as respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds. After the autopsy, Tupac's body was cremated the very next day. He was 25 years old.

Tupac was arguably the most revered and celebrated rapper to ever do it. Tupac Shakur's life and music touched the lives of millions of fans across the planet. Due to having one of the most exhaustive musical catalogs of his day, Tupac has sold over 75 million records worldwide making him one of the most commercially successful musicians of all-time. His discography features some of hip-hop's most enduring records including "California Love, "I Get Around," "Hail Mary," "Dear Mama," "Keep Your Head Up," "All Eyez on Me," "Thugz Mansion," "Changes" and countless others.

Twenty one years after his death, rappers in the new millennium still aspire to reach Tupac's iconic status and he is constantly referred to as one of hip-hop's greats gone too soon.

Rest in peace to the one and only Tupac Shakur.

Check out more on Tupac Shakur's life and legacy at XXL's special anniversary tribute hub below.

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