MEXICO CITY -- Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of political activist Malcolm X, died while travelling in Mexico, U.S. officials confirmed Friday. He was 28.
Two U.S. officials said Shabazz was killed Thursday morning in Mexico City. They did not provide additional details and they spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Shabazz family publicist Terrie Williams confirmed the death to The Associated Press and said the family would issue a statement later.
Labour activist Miguel Suarez said he was with Shabazz when his friend was beaten up during a dispute over a bill at a Mexico City bar.
Suarez, who was recently deported from the United States to Mexico, told the AP that they and several other people had gone to a bar near the downtown plaza that is home to Mexico City's mariachis.
He said Friday the owner demanded they pay a $1,200 bill and a fight ensued. Suarez says he later found Shabazz injured outside the bar and took him to a hospital where he died on Thursday.
Shabazz was born in 1984 to Qubilah Shabazz, one of six daughters of Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz. Qubilah was 4 years old when she saw her father shot to death as he delivered a speech in a Harlem ballroom in 1965.
In June 1997, Malcolm Shabazz, then 12, set a fire at his grandmother Betty Shabazz's home. She died from severe burns, and he served four years in juvenile detention.
He later expressed regret for his actions, telling The New York Times in 2003 that he would sit on his jail cot and ask for a sign of forgiveness from his dead grandmother.
"I just wanted her to know I was sorry and I wanted to know she accepted my apology, that I didn't mean it,'' he said. ``But I would get no response, and I really wanted that response.''
Shabazz also served time on a 2002 attempted robbery conviction, and was released in 2005. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to criminal mischief for smashing the window of a Yonkers doughnut shop.
In recent years, Shabazz said he was writing a memoir and travelling the United States to speak out against youth violence. On his Facebook profile, he said he was attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
He proudly embraced his grandfather's legacy, describing himself on his Twitter page as "Grandson, name-sake and first male heir of the greatest revolutionary leader of the 20th century.''
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Malaak And Quibilah Shabazz
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Two of the daughters of Betty Shabazz, leave the Islamic Cultural Center in New York, surrounded by the crowd, after the private funeral service 27 June in New York. Shabazz, the widow of black leader Malcolm X, died 23 June of burns suffered when her apartment was set ablaze, allegedly by her grandson Malcolm Shabazz. In (C) is Malaak and (C-L) is Quibilah. (Photo credit should read BOB STRONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Daughters Of Betty Shabazz Attend Funeral
Three of the daughters of Betty Shabazz enter the Islamic Cultural Center in New York for private funeral services 27 June, 1997. Shabazz, the widow of slain black leader Malcolm X, died 23 June of burns suffered when her apartment was set ablaze, allegedly by her grandson Malcolm Shabazz. Left to right, are Malikah, Malaak and Qubilah Shabazz. (Photo credit should read BOB STRONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Illya, Attallal And Gamilah Shabazz
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: From left: Illya, Attallal and Gamilah, three of the daughters of Betty Shabazz enter the Islamic Cultural Center in New York for private funeral service 27 June 1997. Shabazz, the widow of slain African-American leader Malcom X, died 23 June of burns suffered when her flat was set ablaze, allegedly by her grandson Malcom Shabazz. AFP PHOTO STAN HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI - DECEMBER 6: Malcolm X's daughter, Attallah, attends the Miami Art Basel Taschen book premiere of Muhammad Ali's book, 'GOAT - Greatest Of All Time' at the Miami Convention Center December 6, 2003 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gregorio Binuya/Getty Images)
Malcolm X's daughter, Malaak Shabazz takes part in the anti-slavery 'May 10 collective' rally named 'the march of the slaves', on May 8, 2011 in the French western city of Nantes. This yearly march is held in Nantes which was France leading slave port, two days before, the day of May 10 commemorating the memory of slavery and its abolition. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD (Photo credit should read JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/Getty Images)
This Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 file booking photo provided by the Madison County Sheriffs Office shows Malikah Shabazz. Shabazz has been sentenced to five years of probation for stealing the identity of an elderly family friend to run up big credit card bills. Prosecutors say she made $55,000 in illegal purchases. (AP Photo/Madison County Sheriff's Office)
Portrait of Attallah Shabazz, daughter of civil rights figures Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X, late twentieth century. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)
Ilyasah And Malaak Shabazz
Ilyasah Shabazz and sister, the daughters of Malcolm X and author of the book 'Growing Up X.' (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)
Malaak Shabazz, African-American late minister Malcolm X's youngest daughter poses part of a press conference on May 5, 2011 in Nantes, western France, three days ahead of a the yearly 'Marche des esclaves' (march of slaves) event. AFP PHOTO FRANK PERRY (Photo credit should read FRANK PERRY/AFP/Getty Images)