In part three of the ‘Heart Of An Outlaw’ series we dive into the compassion and warmth that Tupac had towards his young fans and people in general. We touch on one story in particular involving a young, terminally ill fan that would get his dying wish. In result, Joshua’s Dream was created.
In March 1994, Tupac Shakur was sentenced to serve fifteen days in LA County jail for assaulting Allen Hughes. While serving this time, fans of the rapper wrote to him to give their support. One family, however, went one step further. They wrote a letter to the judge who sentenced Tupac to serve the fifteen days, The Honorable George H. Wu.
To understand how and why they wrote the letter to the judge, you have to go back to the previous year. It was 1993, Tupac received a letter from the parents of a terminally ill boy from Maryland named Joshua Torres. In the letter, his parents explain that it was their sons dying wish to meet the rapper and actor. Eleven year old Joshua, who was dying due to complications from having muscular dystrophy, was a big Tupac fan.
The family not only wrote a letter but on October 14th, they called a radio station to find out how they could get Tupac to phone her dying son. In an effort to communicate with the rap star and to lift Joshua’s spirits. Not only did he call, but within hours he arrived in Aberdeen, Maryland. After catching a last minute flight from New York, Tupac met with Joshua. No cameras, no live broadcast by the radio station that helped set up the meeting. Just Tupac, Joshua and his family.
He spent just over an hour holding and comforting Joshua. Although Joshua was very weak, he managed to smile and even quoted some of Tupac’s lyrics. Tupac would go on to take Joshua to a basketball game. Later on that evening Joshua passed away.
Robert Torres, Joshua’s father, recalls this emotional meeting, “When I told him Josh passed away, he was like “Aw, man”. He was pretty emotional. I was shocked that he stopped what he was doing. Got on the jet, and came down here to visit my son. Just like that, bang! It happened. No one can ever knew the other side of Tupac. He sat with my son at his bed and cried for 45 minutes.”
After the death of Joshua, Tupac renamed his publishing company name from Ghetto Gospel Music to Joshua’s Dream.
Torres Family Letter To the Judge
Below is the letter in full that the Torres family wrote to the Judge after Tupac was sentenced to fifteen days.
Dear Judge G. Wu,
We (The Torres family) are writing to you in reference to Mr. Tupac Shakur’s sentencing on March 10, 1994. We feel that we are more than just fans of Mr. Shakur due to what he did for our son on October 14, 1993. Our son Joshua, 11 years old passed away on that evening due to Muscular Dystrophy that led to a Cardiomyopathy (Enlargement of the heart). Our son felt very proud of Mr. Shakur’s music and the way he acted in movies. When Joshua listened to the music he would pick up the messages behind the music and disseminate them to his friends and his sister.
Our son’s health conditions declined and he was admitted to the John Hopkins Hospital for a week and a half. Two days after arriving home October 14, Joshua became very ill and was not looking well. My wife Diane stated calling the Make – A – Wish Foundation to see if we could grant a wish for him to be visited by one of his favorite stars. The Foundation could not help due to time and travel limitations.
As my wife sat near Joshua, she asked him who would he like to see and he named five stars including Mr. Tupac Shakur. Out of the five names, Mr. Shakur was the only one to make Joshua’s wish come true. My wife called WPGC FM Radio Station and spoke with Ms. Dawn Scott (Promotion Coordinator) and asked if she could contact Mr. Tupac Shakur for her and have him call our son.
Thirty minutes later Mr. Shakur called our son and talked to him for about fifteen minutes. During the conversation our son was having difficulties and Mr. Shakur told him to hang in there and to “Keep ya head up” which was Joshua’s favorite song on the latest album. Mr. Shakur asked our son what else could he do for him and our son asked Mr. Shakur could he visit him. Mr. Shakur told Joshua that he was not too sure but he would look in to it and really try.
Prior to hanging up the phone I spoke with Mr. Shakur and he asked for directions on getting here to our home in Aberdeen, Maryland. Joshua was so happy knowing Mr. Shakur was on his way to visit him as he lay on his bed in pain waiting as patient as he could possibly wait. At 8:00pm Mr. Shakur arrived and spent over an hour beside our son holding him and comforting him as much as possible and expressing lots of sympathy for our son Joshua. Mr. Shakur talked to my wife and I and expressed his sympathies followed by hugs and departed. Later that evening forty five minutes after Mr. Shakur left our son Joshua passed away.
We have lots of respect and feel very close to Mr. Shakur for dropping everything on his agenda to fly down from New York to visit our beloved son Joshua. We can never thank him enough for all that he did. He sent our son some memorabilia’s and flowers upon hearing the news of our son. We know that some of the public look at Mr. Shakur as a negative example however there is a positive side to him that is definitely greater than the public see or hears.
In closing this letter we are asking you to please consider the positive things Mr. Shakur has done for the community but most importantly for our son Joshua Torres who’s wish was fulfilled prior to passing away.
Along with that consideration please try to realize that sending him to jail is a disservice to our community in which Mr. Shakur has always supported and been there for. I believe that having Mr. Shakur give time to spend with the children is better than putting him in jail. Thank You.