The last words Tupac Shakur spoke have been revealed by a police officer who was called to the scene of the rapper's murder.
Chris Carroll, a now retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sergeant, was on bike patrol on the Las Vegas Strip on 7 September 1996 when Shakur was shot dead in his BMW in a drive-by attack.
Speaking for the first time publicly about finding Shakur injured in the seat of his car, Caroll recalled:
"I finally get the car door to open, and as I pull it open, the guy inside came right out, like he was leaning against the door.
"And at first I thought the guy was going to bust out of the door right on top of me; I thought this was his plan of attack, so to speak. But then I notice that he's not coming out of the door; he was falling out of it.
"So I grabbed him with my left arm and he falls into me, and I've still got my gun in the other hand. He's covered with blood, and I immediately notice that the guy's got a ton of gold on - a necklace and other jewellery - and all of the gold is covered in blood. That has always left an image in my mind.
"I've got him in one hand, I've got the gun in the other hand, I'm still yelling at the other guys, and I pull him out of the car. Well, right about then, thank God, another bike cop shows up. He was probably the guy who was chasing the cars initially. He gets Suge [Knight, the former CEO of Death Row Records, who was in the seat next to Tupac at the time of the shooting] off my back, because Suge was somewhat of a threat to me; the other guys were kinda listening - some proned out, some on their knees, some standing around.
"The other cop pushes Suge away from me, and I look down at the guy I'm holding: He's still conscious. I could see he's shot several times, but I can't tell where he's shot. And as I pulled him out of the car, he was wincing in pain. He's looking at me; he's groaning. I laid him down on the pavement, and then I looked inside the car to see if there was anybody else in there, but there wasn't.
"After I pulled him out, Suge starts yelling at him, 'Pac! Pac!' And he just keeps yelling it. And the guy I'm holding is trying to yell back at him. He's sitting up and he's struggling to get the words out, but he can't really do it. And as Suge is yelling 'Pac!,' I look down and I realise that this is Tupac Shakur. At the time, it didn't really mean much of anything to me. I was more concerned that this was a bad situation to be in with just one other cop."
Tupac attended the MTV Music Awards with Snoop Dogg just three days before he was shot Tupac attended the MTV Music Awards with Snoop Dogg just three days before he was shot Carroll then goes on to recount his final conscious moments.
"There's something in police work called the 'dying declaration', a legal concept that, in a nutshell, basically says that if someone who believes they're going to die gives out the name of a suspect or is able to explain what happened, that's not considered hearsay in court when they're not there to testify; it's admissible evidence," he explained to Vegas Seven.
"So I'm looking at Tupac, and he's trying to yell back at Suge, and I'm asking him, 'Who shot you? What happened? Who did it?' And he was just kind of ignoring me. He was making eye contact with me here and there, but he's trying to yell at Suge. 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 non-cooperative, 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: 'F**k you.'
"After that, he started gurgling and slipping out of consciousness. At that point, an ambulance showed up, and he went into unconsciousness."
Shakur was then taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada hospital, where he remained under a medically induced coma for six days. He died of internal bleeding on 13 September after several failed attempts by doctors to revive him. His mother, Black Panther activist Afeni Shakur, requested for his life support machine to be turned off.
"[Shakur's murder] is still considered an unsolved homicide," Carroll explained, though he was not involved in the investigation after the incident had taken place. "And an unsolved homicide case is technically never closed. But nothing more is ever going to happen with it.
"I've heard all the conspiracy theories that have come out, that Suge had something to do with it. And I'll tell you, that didn't happen. And one reason is: You don't hire somebody to kill the guy who's sitting next to you. And second of all: When we were at the scene, and he was yelling at Tupac, it was clear he had legitimate concern for him. It wasn't acting; you could see it was the heat of the moment. This is not the guy who had him killed; it's ridiculous."
Shakur, who released his debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991, sold over 75million records in his life, making him one of the best-selling rappers of all time.
He had become a central figure in the escalating East Coast, West Coast rap rivalry in the Nineties, and publicly claimed that The Notorious B.I.G and Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, who were based in New York, were behind an attack on him in 1994.
He retaliated by bragging about sleeping with The Notorious B.I.G's wife, the RnB singer Faith Evans, in his 1996 track Hit 'Em Up.
A new musical, Holler If Ya Hear Me, based on the life of Shakur, is set to open on Broadway in June.
- The Independent