Despite Rumors, Tupac Is Still Dead

MTV NEWS: One man you wouldn't think had to worry about what he puts in his system anymore is the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was very publicly murdered on a street in Las Vegas last September. But a lot of people out there -- e-mailing us at the rate of dozens a day -- seem convinced that Tupac's career, and his non-stop run-ins with police aren't over, because he's not really over. Here's John Norris to shed some light.

JOHN NORRIS: Tupac filled his 25 years with enough drama and adventure to fill a three-hour movie. So it should come as no surprise that even in death, many of his fans still anxiously await one more plot twist. As with most good '90s conspiracy theories, "Tupac lives" began on the Internet.

Some speculate Tupac faked his death to boost record sales or to avoid enemies. In fact, Tupac's sales and public persona were never bigger than in the months before his death.

Armchair analysis of his lyrics shows that Tupac was preoccupied with his

own passing, and an eerie video depicting his fatal shooting appeared just days after his death.

Speculation also centers on "The Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory," which Tupac posthumously released under the alias "Makaveli." A note inside the cover says "Exit: 2pac, Enter: Makaveli," fueling the theory that Tupac is heeding the advice of Nicolo Machiavelli, a 16th century Italian war philosopher, who some say advocated faking one's own death to fool enemies and gain power.

"Don Killuminati" is presumably a reference to the "Illuminati," a dubious secret society which aspires to world domination. Then there's the cover art and accompanying numerology, suggesting, to some, a resurrection.

MARION "SUGE" KNIGHT: On the cover of Makaveli he's on a cross, you know, shot up, being crucified and you know, it's real, it's real deep. I mean Pac got shot on the seventh and that's deep. You know, Jesus on the seventh day. And you know he went on to a better place on

the thirteenth.

NORRIS: Adding to these omens in the minds of the skeptical, is doubt surrounding the circumstances of Tupac's shooting. True believers claim there were no witnesses to the shooting; that the white Cadillac from which Tupac was supposedly shot was never found; that Tupac always wore a bulletproof vest, but oddly didn't wear one that night; and that his hasty cremation and canceled funeral services were merely a way of avoiding an autopsy, a death certificate and a public viewing of the body, which, since there was no body, would have exposed the whole plot.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence that Tupac is indeed dead. Las Vegas police interviewed over 20 witnesses to the shooting, and they believe they know who killed Tupac. But without further witness co-operation, they fear they won't have a prosecutable case. Secondly, an autopsy was performed on a body positively identified through fingerprints as that of Tupac, the cause of death listed as injuries

from gunshot wounds. A death certificate is on file in the Clark County Vital Records Office, and Davis Funeral Home of Las Vegas confirms that they services were provided for one Tupac Shakur.

SNOOP DOGGY DOGG: People need to let him rest in peace, let that rumor rest in peace. Because, you know what I'm sayin', it's a hard pill to swallow, people don't want to accept it, we don't want to accept it, first of all, and the public don't want to accept it, so they gonna keep that myth or that philosophy going on as long as they can because his music lives on and he's a legend, you know what I'm sayin'. When you make legendary music, people don't want to believe you're gone. Like Elvis, they keep saying Elvis ain't dead you know what I'm sayin', but it's just all about the individual himself, he was a legend and everybody don't wanna let it go.