What Happened To Pablo Escobar's Body?

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

For many, ruthless Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar needs no introduction. He's believed to have killed as many as 4,000 people in his lifetime, and the notorious Medellin cartel he founded and led gave him a reported net worth of around $25 billion. It's hard to underestimate the scope of his drug trafficking operation and the destruction it caused while producing and selling cocaine across the world. But after he was gunned down by Colombian National Police in a shootout amid a rooftop pursuit, he was laid to rest in a peaceful end that stands in stark contrast to how he lived.

The vicious crime lord is buried in Cemetario Jardines Montesacro in Itagüí. According to Medellin Guru, the grave rests in an "idyllic" location south of Medellin, where he grew up, on a hill that overlooks the city and Aburrá Valley. It's also drawn its fair share of controversy.

He met his end in a rooftop shootout

Unlike his serene resting place, Pablo Escobar's death was a fittingly violent end. After escaping prison in July 1992, a massive manhunt led Colombian National Police to the drug lord on December 2, 1993 — just one day after his birthday. Using electronic, antenna-based direction-finding equipment to track a call he had with his son, officials from the Search Bloc pinpointed the King of Cocaine's location to the Los Olivos neighborhood in Medellin. A chase ensued, and his death reportedly came in a hail of bullets on the rooftops of his hometown barrio.

Gunshot wounds were located in his leg, torso, and ear, with the latter deemed the one that took him out. According to Business Insider, at the time of his death, Search Bloc leader Colonel Hugo Martinez — who was communicating with his team via radio — heard one of his soldiers scream, "Viva Colombia! "We have just killed Pablo Escobar!" But the crime lord's family insists he died by suicide.

Speaking to The Sun in 2016, Escobar's son Sebastian Marroquin said Escobar told him "the shot that would take his life would stick." "I have the absolute certainty that my father committed suicide," he told the outlet. "Coroners who did the autopsy were threatened and forced to change the official report."

In an episode of the 2004 docuseries "Zero Hour," Roberto Escobar said the same. "During all the years they went after him, he would say to me every day if he was really cornered without a way out, he would 'shoot himself through the ears,'" he said. Escobar's aunt, Luzmila Gaviria, agreed. "I don't believe they killed him," she said. "He killed himself. Because he used to say, 'I'd prefer a grave in Colombia, to jail in the United States.'"

Escobar's grave has drawn lots of attention

Regardless of how Pablo Escobar was killed, his grave is a tourist attraction — at least after the explosive popularity of Netflix's "Narcos" drama that ran from 2015 to 2017. His headstone rests in a plot with those of his relatives, including his parents. In 2018, Atlas Obscura reported that people sometimes laid flowers at his grave.

The burial ground is about a 10-minute walk from the Sabaneta metro station, and it's become a popular stopping point for the many Pablo Escobar tours that are offered in Medellin. According to Medellin Guru, some locals aren't happy about the tours and the attention they bring to the vicious and dark history that the drug lord forever tied to the city. In 2018, one tourist, Steven Semmens, brought such unwanted attention to the area when he snorted cocaine off Escobar's grave. He told the Mirror the stunt was intended as a "mark of respect," but most people didn't seem to agree. "My mate asked me to do a line off Escobar's grave and it just went mad," he said. "It was funny at the time but I'm ashamed. Everybody said I was a disgrace and I was making the country look bad."