Tragic Details Found In Notorious B.I.G.'s Autopsy Report

Notorious B.I.G.'s first album was called "Ready to Die," and it helped him become a household name to many. On March 9, 1997, the rapper met a tragic fate and appeared to live up to the title of his legendary work, per History. He was sitting as a passenger in a car that was at a stoplight in Los Angeles when another car pulled up to his vehicle and fired shots inside. The superstar, who was hit multiple times, was taken to a local hospital, but even an emergency surgery was not able to save him (per Biography). He was pronounced dead from his gunshot wounds at age 24. 

There was much speculation that the shooting was revenge for the shooting death of Tupac Shakur in '96. The two rappers had been feuding for a while in an East Coast/West Coast rift. Part of it stemmed from Shakur's blaming B.I.G. for an earlier shooting, severing what had been a close friendship. They traded diss tracks and barbs in interviews — which naturally helped them sell records since people took sides — and both became megastars. 

But now Shakur and B.I.G. were both dead, and there would later be talk of conspiracy in B.I.G.'s death, per Rolling Stone. Fans worldwide mourned the loss of both of the stars of the rap genre, and then the autopsy results came out and made things even sadder — with a bit of luck, B.I.G. might have survived the shooting attempt. 

Only one of the four shots were fatal for Notorious B.I.G.

According to the coroner, the gangster rapper was hit with four bullets, and three of them were non-fatal (via NME). One hit him in the left forearm, another hit his back, and another hit him in the left groin, but none affected his organs. If it had been just those three shots, he would have been facing some recovery time, but otherwise, he would have been fine. It was the fourth shot that was the kill shot, though. It entered from his right side, ripping through his colon, left lung, liver, and his heart before it stopped in his left shoulder. That was too much for the medical rescuers to overcome, and he ultimately died. 

When it comes to gunfire, there is no exact rhyme or reason why some people can be shot multiple times and survive while others die after one shot. It's all a matter of physics and luck. That is why someone like Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson can get shot nine times and come out on the other side able to rap and also act in movies (per LAD Bible). Conversely, Biggie Smalls and Tupac are both historical footnotes and cautionary tales about how rap feuds can get deadly and way out of hand. 

There were other findings in the report: Smalls was morbidly obese, weighing 395 pounds. His heart was also showing signs of cardiomegaly, he had moderate pulmonary edema, and his size was likely going to be a detriment as he got older. But there's more.

There was a likely unintended slight in the report

Chris Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka Notorious B.I.G., had a purpose in mind — he wanted to be universally known. That goal was achieved when he became one of the most marketable names in the music world, appearing on television and on the covers of magazines. Had social media been around, he would have been boosted even more. Indeed, he was a legend to many people.

But if you dig through the autopsy report, through all the pages about gunshot angles and the particulars of the condition of all the organs in his body, and you keep reading through all the medical terminology, you will find something on page 1B — his life was reduced to being "Case No. 97-01812." The coroner dutifully wrote down everything from his name to his date of birth. Then there are two scribbled notes: One said "Decedent — 400+lbs," and the other said, "Decedent may be rap singer." 

One wonders how he would have taken the fact that there was a person who did not definitively know who he was. For just that brief snapshot, the man who still adorns building walls and is part of pop culture decades after his death was not "notorious." There was one final bit of irony left in this whole story, though, when B.I.G.'s second album came out not that long after he died. The title? "Life After Death."