On the night of Sept. 7, 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot several times—in the chest, pelvis, right hand, and thigh—in a drive-by in Las Vegas. He was subsequently taken to a hospital where, after being placed in a barbiturate-induced coma, he died in the critical care unit six days later from internal bleeding.
It’s still a mystery who gunned down the 25-year-old hip-hop legend, but last week, retired Las Vegas police officer Chris Carroll came forward to speak about that fateful evening for the first time. According to Carroll, he was the first officer to respond to the crime scene and said the following to Vegas Seven magazine:
“He was making eye contact with me here and there, but he’s trying to yell at Suge [Knight]. And I kept asking over and over, ‘Who did this? Who shot you?’ And he basically kept ignoring me. And then I saw in his face, in his movements, all of a sudden in the snap of a finger, he changed. And he went from struggling to speak, being noncooperative, to an ‘I’m at peace’ type of thing. Just like that. He went from fighting to ‘I can’t do it.’ And when he made that transition, he looked at me, and he’s looking right in my eyes. And that’s when I looked at him and said one more time, ‘Who shot you?’”
“He looked at me and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth, and I thought I was actually going to get some cooperation. And then the words came out: ‘Fuck you.’”
Yes, Tupac’s last words were “Fuck you.” It’s fitting, in a way, since the police have allegedly been implicated in helping cover up his murder, according to LA Weekly.
But the revelation also got us thinking about last words of some of the most famous people in history. Here are the best of the bunch in alphabetical order, from Marie Antoinette to the cheeky Oscar Wilde:
Marie Antoinette: “Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.”
Context: As she approached the guillotine where she was to be beheaded for treason, she accidentally stepped on her executioner’s foot and apologized.
Jane Austen: “I want nothing but death.”
Context: When asked by her sister Cassandra if she wanted anything as she lay on her deathbed.
Humphrey Bogart: “I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.”
Context: The Casablanca star was a great lover of scotch and said this on his deathbed before falling victim to cancer.
James Brown: “I’m on fire. I’m burning up. Burning up.”
Context: The soul singer said these last words to his brother, Charles Bobbitt, before taking three short breaths, opening his eyes, and closing them one last time.
Charlie Chaplin: “Why not? After all, it belongs to him.”
Context: The comedian-filmmaker said this after a priest, who was reading him his last rites, said, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”
“The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again.”
Winston Churchill: “I’m so bored with it all.”
Context: The British leader’s last words before slipping into a deep coma and passing away nine days later.
Kurt Cobain: “… it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
Context: The end of the suicide note Nirvana’s singer wrote before he shot himself with a shotgun.
Jack Daniel: “One last drink, please.”
Context: The mustachioed American distiller and founder of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery had booze on the mind ’til the end.
Joe DiMaggio: “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”
Context: The Yankees slugger was speaking of his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe.
Walt Disney: “Kurt Russell.”
Context: The name was scrawled on a piece of paper and no one, not even the actor Russell, who was 15 at the time, knows what it meant, although the year Disney died—1966—Russell starred in the Disney film Follow Me, Boys! alongside Fred MacMurray.
Roger Ebert: “I’ll see you at the movies.”
Context: Final words of the celebrated film critic’s last blog post, written two days before his passing.
Ian Fleming: “I am sorry to trouble you chaps. I don’t know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the roads these days.”
Context: The James Bond author told this to the ambulance drivers taking him to the hospital.
Ernest Hemingway: “Goodnight, my kitten.”
Context: The great author’s last words he uttered to his wife after putting a shotgun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. Hemingway’s state had deteriorated following a series of electroshock treatments.
Jimi Hendrix: “The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again.”
Context: Last words of a poem found next to the guitarist’s deathbed.
Christopher Hitchens: “Capitalism, downfall.”
Context: The polemicist-journalist’s last words, according to his good friend Andrew Sullivan.
Bob Hope: “Surprise me.”
Context: The great entertainer’s answer to his wife, who asked him where he wanted to be buried.
Steve Jobs: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
Context: According to his sister Mona Simpson’s eulogy for the Apple cofounder, he repeated the monosyllables three times after looking at his sister Patty, his children, and his partner, Laurene, who were all gathered by his bedside.
John F. Kennedy: “No, you certainly can’t.”
Context: This was the president’s reply to Nellie Connally, wife of Gov. John Connally, who said, “You certainly can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you, Mr. President,” seconds before he was assassinated.
Bob Marley: “On your way up, take me up, on your way down, don’t let me down.”
Context: Last words the reggae legend said to his son Ziggy, after telling him he had a song for him. Ziggy later used the lines for a song called “Won’t Let You Down.”
Groucho Marx: “Die, my dear? Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do!”
Context: The comedian said this to his much-younger wife, Erin Fleming, before succumbing to pneumonia.
Marilyn Monroe: “Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to Jack, and say goodbye to yourself, because you’re a nice guy.”
Context: The iconic screen siren said this to actor Peter Lawford before overdosing on Nembutal.
Mozart: “The taste of death is upon my lips…I feel something, that is not of this earth.”
Context: The composer uttered these words to his wife, sister, and family doctor before dying of what is believed to be a severe fever.
Sir Laurence Olivier: “This isn’t Hamlet, you know. It’s not meant to go into the bloody ear.”
Context: The Shakespearean actor allegedly said this to a nurse who, when attempting to moisten his lips, misfired. In Hamlet, the title character’s father is killed by having poison dripped into his ear while sleeping.
Eugene O’Neill: “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and died in a hotel room.”
Context: The Pulitzer Prize-winning author was born in a hotel room in the Barrett Hotel in Longacre Square (now Times Square), New York, and died in Room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston.
George Bernard Shaw: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”
Context: The Irish playwright uttered these words on his deathbed before dying of renal failure.
Frank Sinatra: “I’m losing.”
Context: The last words the legendary crooner said according to his daughter, Nancy Sinatra.
Dylan Thomas: “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies. I think that’s the record!”
Context: The Welsh poet said this after drinking at the White Horse (now White Horse Tavern), a Greenwich Village pub, upon returning to the Hotel Chelsea in New York City.
Hunter S. Thompson: “No fun—for anybody. 67. You are getting greedy. Act your old age. Relax—This won’t hurt.”
Context: The last words of the gonzo author’s suicide note before he shot himself.
Leonardo da Vinci: “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”
Context: Last words of the legendary artist, who died in the arms of King Francis I of France.
Voltaire: “Now is not the time for making new enemies.”
Context: Rumored to be the last words of the French enlightenment writer, when a priest asked him to renounce Satan.
Oscar Wilde: “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.”
Context: Widely reported to be Wilde’s last words, although he allegedly lived a few weeks after uttering them.