Malikah Shabazz, Daughter of Malcolm X, Found Dead

Malcolm X's daughter, Malikah Shabazz, has died. According to Entertainment Tonight, Shabazz was found dead in her Brooklyn apartment on Monday. Authorities have stated that they do not suspect foul play at this time. USA Today reported that her death appears to be from natural causes. 

Shabazz was reportedly found unconscious by her daughter at around 5 p.m. local time on Monday. She was 56 at the time of her passing. Shabazz was one of six daughters born to the late civil rights leader. She and her twin sister, Malaak, were born after Malcolm X's death. Their mother, Dr. Betty Shabazz, was pregnant with the twins at the time of his passing. Bernice King, the youngest child of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., took to Twitter to share a statement on Shabazz's passing. She informed her followers of Shabazz's backstory and wrote that her thoughts were with her family. 

Shabazz's death comes only days after two of the three men who had formerly been convicted of killing Malcolm X were exonerated. Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam were convicted in 1966, a year after Malcolm X's killing. Both Aziz and Islam, who were then known as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, respectively, spent two decades in prison following their convictions, although they maintained their innocence while in prison. Aziz was released from prison in 1985 and Islam was released two years later. Islam passed away in 2009. 

Decades after Malcolm X's murder, both Aziz and Islam had their sentences vacated by Manhattan judge Ellen Biben. This update comes after a joint effort between the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and lawyers for the two men discovered new evidence pertaining to this case. They determined that the FBI and the New York Police Department withheld evidence at the trial that could have proven Aziz and Islam's innocence. In light of that discovery, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. expressed to the families of Malcolm X, Islam, and Aziz, "I apologize for what were serious, unacceptable violations of the law and the public trust. I apologize on behalf of our nation's law enforcement for this decades-long injustice, which has eroded public faith in institutions that are designed to guarantee the equal protection of the law." 

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Following the more recent overturning of their convictions, Aziz released a statement via his lawyers. His statement read, "I am an 83-year-old man who was victimized by the criminal justice system, and I do not know how many more years I have to be creative. However, I hope the same system that was responsible for this travesty of justice also take responsibility for the immeasurable harm it caused me."