Rumors are flying amid reports that Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of civil rights leader Malcolm X, has been killed in Mexico.
"I'm confirming, per US Embassy, on behalf of the family, the tragic death of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X. Statement from family to come," family friend Terrie Williams posted late Thursday on her Facebook page.
The New York Amsterdam News reported the death earlier on Thursday.
According to media reports, Shabazz died of injuries suffered during a robbery.
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Shabazz, 28, is perhaps most widely known for intentionally starting a fire that killed his grandmother, Malcolm X's widow Betty Shabazz, in Yonkers, New York, in 1997.
GlobalPost senior correspondent in Mexico, Dudley Althaus, reports that Shabazz's death remains unconfirmed.
Police have received no information that Shabazz was killed in Mexico City, a spokesperson for the capital's attorney general's office, whose detectives investigate crimes, said today.
"We haven't had a report of any American killed, let aloe anyone with that name," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Reports of his death sparked a firestorm on social media Thursday and Friday, with conspiracy theories aplenty ranging from murder by the FBI to an assassination similar to his grandfather's fate.
Shabazz was 12 at the time of the fire in Yonkers, serving 18 months at an out-of-state juvenile facility after pleading guilty to second-degree arson and second-degree manslaughter.
He served prison time during his teens for an armed robbery and had other run-ins with the law.
At the time of his death, he was writing two books and attending college in New York.
Shabazz is survived by two daughters, his mother and several aunts.